The West African Examination Council or WAEC is currently in a quandary over call by Ghana that it is ready to write the regional exams in June amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ghana is among the five Anglophone countries in West Africa, including Liberia that writes the regional exams for 12th graders. The head of the WAEC Liberia Office, Dale Gboto made the disclosure here Monday, 18th May while speaking to ‘Truth Breakfast Show’ hosted by Truth FM 96.1 in Paynesville.
All five countries of WAEC – Liberia, Sierra Leone, The Gambia, Ghana and Nigeria have upgraded to the West African Senior Schools Certificate Examination or WASSCE for 12th graders.
But Mr. Gbotoe discloses that despite the novel Coronavirus pandemic, the Government of Ghana says its students (12th graders) are ready to write the WASSCE in June even if other member countries are not prepared in the wake of the global health crisis.
He explains that tests for the WASSCE are prepared by all member countries and it is not in the purview of any single country to decide when the exams should be administered.
Dale notes that WASSCE can only be administered when students are in a right frame of mind, and not amid a global pandemic characterized by deaths, lockdowns and closure of schools, among other precautionary measures announced by health authorities.
The Ministry of Education closed schools across the country since March as part of measures to avoid people crowding in public places and thereby spreading the virus.However, some Liberian educators who called on the show said Liberia should join member countries to administer the exams in June, warning that allowing one country, in this case Ghana, to write the exams could send a bad precedent.
On March 21, 2020, the Liberia National Office of the West African Examinations Council in consultation with the Ministry of Education, placed an indefinite suspension on the conduct of all its Examinations for School Candidates, scheduled to have begun on April 6, 2020 until further notice.
WAEC said in a press release the decision is as a result of the negative impact of the novel and deadly Corona virus (COVID-19) pandemic and the subsequent protocols being put in place by governments of member countries of WAEC to prevent the spread of the disease.
“The affected Examinations are: the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) for School Candidates, 2020, the Liberia Junior High School Certificate Examination (LJHSCE), and the Liberia Primary School Certificate Examination (LPSCE)”, the release detailed. A total of 39, 887 candidates from across Liberia (12th Graders) wrote the 2019 WASSCE, at 237 centers nation-wide.
Story by Jonathan Browne