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Mass WAEC Failures: Holistically Tackling the Problem, Not Just Blame-shifting

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Liberia recently recorded its worst results in the 2016 West African Examination Council or WAEC Senior High School category in four years. According to the WAEC, results released recently in Monrovia, 22,671 out of 46,927 students who registered for the exams, performed dismally, leading to failure – a mass failure that constitutes 48.4% of the total number of registered students.

In 2013, there were 7,884 failures -29.49% of the26,993 students registered and in 2014, WAEC recorded 13,651 failures – 49.37% of the 27,881 registered students, while in 2015, the exams were suspended because of the deadly Ebola epidemic suffered by the nation.

While releasing the results in Monrovia, authorities of WAEC’s Liberia Office indicated that the results for an additional 7,870 students were being withheld for collusion due to irregularities to include exam mal-practices, while 16,072 – 34.48% of the total number of registered students passed the examinations.

Regarding the mass failures, accusing fingers continue to be pointed at the Liberia National Office of West African Examination Council, Ministry of Education, school authorities and the students themselves depending on the perspective of the accuser(s).

While there may still be challenges in the process of enhancing Liberia’s educational system, the Ministry of Education must also be hailed for exerting efforts toward improving the system. Since President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf launched the government’s three-year (2014-2016) operational plan, with a number of recommendations aimed at improving the education sector of the country, including the distribution of textbooks and deployment of additional teachers, many had thought that by now, beneficiaries of the system would have had some level of academic improvements.

Other than shifting blames unnecessarily, we must all research why the mass failures among Liberian Senior High School Students all of the time amid efforts toward improving the system? Take for example, if a senior high school student is unable to name the countries of the Mano River Union or at least two for some points, how, in the world, do you blame the Education Ministry or WAEC;s National Office? This is just to suggest to us all the unpreparedness most of our students.

It is generally an open secret that most of our high school students put in far less time in concentrating on their academic activities; rather, their concentration is on good times on a daily basis – night clubs, video clubs, as well as uncontrollable sex, among others. As a result, huge reliance is always on bribery, sex for grades and other inducements for some teachers and school authorities.

Are we not in the know of “flexibility fees and camping” cauterizing the activities of majority of these students during the period for the WAEC exams every year? Are we also not knowledgeable about “answers” with which most of these students enter the examination halls and shade on answer sheets during exams that most often become a complete mess – like the 2016 WAEC exams? These are, nut a few questions over which we must all ponder in determining the problem with mass failures during our research, other than categorically blaming the Education Ministry and WAEC.

And as a way of helping to improve the academic habits of senior high school students against mass failures in the WAEC Exams, the urgent need to discourage the aforementioned bad and poor academic habits cannot be over-emphasized.

We must assist the government in holistically tackling such negative habits of our students at all levels, including the various schools, if the 2017 WAEC exam results must be encouraging. 

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