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Ricks’ Graduation Exposes Government’s Weakness

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Recently immediately following the administration of the annual West African Examination Council or WAEC Exams in Liberia, the Ministry of Education warned secondary school authorities against graduating students before the results of the exams.

According to the ministry, graduation for both private and public schools would have depended on passing the exams administered by WAEC. Deputy Education Minister for Instruction Ronelle Horton told a MICAT
regular press briefing in Monrovia recently that there could have been no graduation before the release of WAEC results, stressing that national exams set academic standards for schools and serve as an
assessment tool for students across the nation. 

The Deputy Education Minister also noted that passing the 12th Grade WAEC exams certifies students’ mastery of the knowledge and skills required by the national curriculum, indicating that to allow students who have not passed the WAEC exams to graduate was tantamount to undermining the integrity of the country’s educational system.

She further reminded school administrators and the public that there should be no additional fees for graduation for 12th Grade students following the release of WAEC results, re-emphasizing that passing the WAEC and graduating from Grade 12 was a wonderful achievement, and that the Ministry would join schools and communities to congratulate graduating students when WAEC results are released. Unfortunately, the warning and admonition of the ministry may have just “fallen on death-ears” to without any due courtesy and respect to the Government of Liberia.

Such discourtesy and disrespect are marred by the decision of some private schools to graduate 12th grade students – one of such schools being Ricks Institute. Ricks has just graduated its 12th graders without the results of the WAEC results, Education Ministry authorities say it’s a “Thanksgiving Program” – something we consider very contradicting and deceiving to the Liberian people.

Why would the administration of Ricks Institute call it graduation and the ministry says no – it’s “Thanksgiving Program”, especially when the students were in graduation gowns? Is the government now the official spokesperson for Ricks Institute? Who, in this case, determines the occasion – of course, it’s the administration of Ricks Institute and not the Ministry of Education; and the need for the government to actually clarify this matter cannot be over-emphasized.

Moreover, the repeated action by Ricks Institute and other private schools without punitive action only exposes the weakness of the Liberian educational system and its messy nature supported by the government itself.

The government must wake up from its slumber and ensure adherence to its guidelines and principles devoid of selective justice among its citizens and institutions. The fact that Ricks Institute has against defied the government, any other private school could now go ahead to graduate 12 graders without any punitive action by the Education Ministry, considering the fact that the ministry would deliberately choose to call Ricks’ graduation exercise as Thanksgiving program.
This is wrong and it must stop. 

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