By Lewis S. Teh
The executive director of People Actions Network (PAN) Rufus Neufville has presented 150,000 Liberian dollars cash award to top-performing students, who earned high marks in the 2021 exams administered by the West African Examinations Council or WAEC.
WAEC Monrovia Office last year suspended the exams indefinitely after about eight of its staff reportedly went missing onboard the sunken vessel Niko Ivanko six (6) nautical miles off the shore of Marshall City, Margibi County on Saturday, July 17, 2021.
Mr. Neufville, a former lawmaker and diplomat, presented the cash award on Monday, January 3, 2022, when he paid a courtesy call at WEAC Monrovia Office in Oldest Congo Town, along with the benefitting students.
He notes that WAEC has played a pivotal role in the transformation of the country, and has been a strong partner to growth and development, adding that though the education system had been described as messy, the results from the national exams clearly mean that the future of Liberia is bright.
“We are introducing this as an initiation; we also want to encourage our big people in government to pay some attention to performing students, instead of buying big cars”, he says.
According to him, it is about time that national government and stakeholders see education as a tool for national development, noting that the transformation of Liberia rests on the shoulders of the younger generation especially, school-going children who continue to perform excellently in public exams.
Mr. Neufville explains that the decision to embark on providing money for top-performing students is to buttress the government’s free tuition program, including payment of WASSCE fees for 12th and 9th graders, recalling that during his days in grade school, WAEC fees were a challenge.
He says it is against such backdrop that he has deemed it important to put smiles on the faces of successful students while buttressing the government’s efforts in the educational sector.
The 150,000 Liberian Dollar cash award was given to the top four performers from the WASSCE exams with 75,000 presented to the dux in the 12th-grade category; LRD 40,000 to the dux of the 9th grade; LRD 20,000 to the dux of the Sixth Grade and LRD 15,000 to the dux of the 3rd Grade, respectively.
Making remarks at the turning over ceremony, parents of the students extolled the former lawmaker for what they described as a dream come true for their children. They pleaded with Ambassador Neufville to continue his kind gesture, which they noted, will encourage other students to compete in the next exams.
Also speaking, the dux of the 12th Grade category from Maggie Lampkins Institute, Wilfred T. Sackie, expressed delight over the cash award and extended profound appreciation to Ambassador Neufville for introducing the initiative.
“This is like a dream comes true for me I didn’t see this anywhere coming, but I’m grateful to God, my family and school for the knowledge imparted in me”
Student Sackie says success does not belong to those who claim it, but rather it’s something that comes from God, saying “I’m lack of word, all I can say is to specifically thank Ambassador Neufville for putting me on the spotlight.” By Jonathan Browne