Veteran Liberian educator Bishop Dr. Leo M. Simpson, sharply reacts to recent threat by the Minister of Education D. Ansu Sonii to dismiss school principals whose students failed the 2018/2019 West African Senior School Certificate Examinations or WASSCE.
Bishop Simpson, proprietor of the Haywood Mission Institute in Old Road community, Monrovia says the Minister’s threat is unfair because all schools operating in the country are given a curriculum by the Ministry of Education to teach, wondering why the threat to school principals because of students’ failure in WASSCE.
Dr. Simpson mad the reservation on Wednesday in an interview with reporters on the school campus.Addressing a regular press briefing at the Ministry of Information recently on Capitol Hill, Education Minister Sonii threatened that school principals whose students would fail in the regional exams would lose their posts due weak and poor supervision.
The Minister stresses that it is the duty of school principals to ensure students are properly taught the required materials, noting they need to ensure that teachers who do not come to classes are punished.
He says the Ministry takes results of the WASSCE very seriously, so when students failed, both principal and teachers have failed. The Ministry of Education announces that effective next academic year, 12th graders who failed the WASSCE would not be allowed to do re-sitter.
But Dr. Simpson wonders how could a 12th grader who successfully completed the curriculum prescribed by the Ministry of Education and taught by school authorities be denied graduation on the basis of failing a regional exam.
He calls on the Education Minister to work with stakeholders in the education system, including the leadership of the High School Principals Association of Liberia in finding solutions to problems faced by Liberian schools, noting, “Some schools lack library and laboratory, so it is better to solve the problems then to issue threat.”
He reveals that all 12th graders who wrote the 2018/2019 West African Senior School Certificate Examinations are being issued provisional clearances, awaiting the WASSCE results before graduation in line with directive from the Ministry of Education.
The West African Examination Council Monrovia Office sets July 5, 2018 as date for the release of the 2018/2019 exams results for 12th graders. Liberia has transitioned from the nationally-tailored Liberia Senior High School Exams (LHSCE) to the more rigorous regional WASSCE in order to be on par with member countries, which include Liberia, Nigeria, Ghana, The Gambia and Sierra Leone.
Unlike the (LHSCE) which is generally objective questions, the WASSCE is comprehensively essay-oriented, including practical tests, but the challenge here is, most schools in the country, both public and private lack well equipped libraries and science laboratories to enable students adequately prepare for the regional public test. Bishop Dr.Leo M. Simpson–Editing by Jonathan Browne