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In defense of quality education

The West African Examination Council or WAEC Liberia Office should be commended for the timely release of the 2018 exam results for 12th Graders. This obviously was a hectic load of work done in impressively short duration.

Again, the procedures involved in scoring, collating and final release of results, if rigorously applied, would raise questions about the authenticity of the results released. For example, who marks or check the marker?

For a candidate to be considered for appointment as an examiner at WAEC for the marking exercise, he or she must possess the following qualifications: have degrees from recognized universities or institutions in the subjects applied for; obtain a minimum of three years post-qualification teaching experience in the subjects; possess thorough knowledge of the subject papers one seeks to examine or correct; applicants must, in addition, be computer literate (at least, be capable of using word processing programme); they must also have demonstrated ability to be thorough and accurate in their work and be able to meet target dates, and must have unquestionable integrity, among others.

The concerns are: did our examiners meet these criteria mentioned above? Are these ruthless standards actually applied in the Liberian classrooms in evaluating students’ performance in readiness for the exams? That is a debate for another time.

However, in an attempt to curb the educational crises plaguing the country, the Minister of Education recently introduced several policies. Laudable among these is the issuance of permit to entities desirous of operating schools only at the Ministry of Education.

We believe such stringent measures should be directed at sectors where the stakeholders have complete oversight responsibility, so that similar reform measures could be extended to other areas if found to be practicable and sustainable.

Educational reform in Liberia today should begin with motivation for learners, for if students learnt in the earlier stages of development that there is reward for hard work, it would inculcate in them a culture for productivity and potential maximization.

We also recommend that an independent body, in this case WAEC, should closely collaborate with administrators to scrutinize enrolment at universities, colleges and tertiary institutions to give access to only prepared students.

It is a well established fact that the current educational system in Liberia is below the benchmark established by international standards. Recognizing and embracing our deficiencies now would not only enable us to progress, but identify areas that need strengthening.

There are preparatory stages in all ventures which cannot be underestimated. There should no coyness in the recognition of deficiencies that are glaring. Education as we all know is expensive yet beneficial. This is why citizens of any country applaud governments that embark on policies to subsidize cost attached to education, since it is every government’s responsibility to provide best quality education in seeking the interest of its citizens.

In attempts to persuade people to opt for a decision taken by an organization, sincere analysis of the realities and outlines of both the pros and cons must be punctiliously done.

Quality education does not rest primarily on entrepreneurs, but the government. And the prime strategy should be to ensure that good number of students make a pass (i.e. between grades 1 and 3) – an occurrence that is very rare in Liberia.

Students in Liberia should be able to easily gain admission into universities within the sub-region and even beyond. However, this is unlikely where a pass for most Liberian students in the West African Senior School Certificate Exams or WASSCE is score such as 7 or even worse, 8.

Therefore, the desire of every student should be to write an examination such as the WASSCE that has international accreditation when the right premises such as standardized curriculum, textbooks, qualified instructors, equipped laboratories and libraries, among others are set.


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