Monrovia – The Executive Director of the Sustainable Development Network-Liberia Incorporated (SDN-Liberia), Blamo Nimle, has expressed fear that there could be massive failure for Liberian students in the pending West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
WASSCE is a type of standardized test, which is administered by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) to only candidates residing in Anglophone West Africa—Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Gambia and Liberia.
Blamo Nimle believes Liberia’s transition from WAEC exams to WASSCE is a future educational crisis needing urgent attention.
“For the past three years, Liberia’s education sector has been preparing students through a pilot phase, for the transition from WAEC to WASSCE.
However, reports have it that the performances of our students have been very poor.
Every year, those students graduated from high schools and went to universities.
“So those, who are in 12 grades never had the chance to sit one of those trial exams. Secondly, there were selected schools that went through the pilot phases."
"As I speak to you, based on reports I gathered from Principals, CEOs [county education officers] and DEOs [district education officers], the three pilot exams never reached the entire southeastern region,” Nimle revealed.
Nimle also named the lack of qualified teachers for the sciences (Biology, Chemistry and Physics) in many counties, lack of relevant text books, lack of equipped laboratories in many schools and the inability of students to take their lessons serious plus the more subjects required under WASSCE as contributing factors for a poor performance.
“We are going to experience massive failure."
"And if they use the WASSCE as requirements for students entering universities, definitely you will be denying hundreds of young people education when we are talking about giving young people access to education,” he pointed-out.
Nimle, in addition to the challenges outlined, frowned on the monumental increment of the fee, from US$30 to US$60.
“Sadly for the students and parents and in the wake of the economic challenges, the government of Liberia has announced the lack of funding to subsidize for WASSCE fees, a situation currently resulting to a very low registration, though these students are in the 12th grade and the deadline is fast approaching.
“Should we still subject our students to this test, knowing all of the challenges? What are the next options available to Liberian students?
What will happen to senior high school students, who could pass their respective school requirements, but yet fail to pass this new test?
Now government and educational stakeholders must swiftly act to manage.
About the WASSCE
Also known as the Senior School Certificate Examinations (SSCE), by its former name; WASSCE is made for all private and public schools in Anglophone West Africa.
Students must wear distinctive uniforms as described in the standards set by their schools.
This examination is offered during the summer (May to June), and the results are available by August.
The last exams are administered in November/December and are also known as the General Certificate Examinations (GCE), by its former name.
All students from private and public schools are allowed to take this examination, and uniforms are not compulsory.
However, other rules and regulations are applied on every candidate.
This examination is only offered during the autumn season, and the results are available by December.
It is also called private examinations of which now it is compulsory to register biometrically.
The examination is for both selection to tertiary institutions and for certification.
The core subjects are English Language, Integrated Science, Mathematics and Social Studies.
In addition to the core subjects, each candidate must choose one of the options under one of the programs and must enter and sit for three or four elective subjects from the option of his/her choice.
Under general agriculture, one of the following must be taken: Animal Husbandry, Fisheries or Forestry.
Also one or two of the following must be taken: Crop Husbandry and Horticulture, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics (Elective), Geography, French or Music.
There are two programs under business: Accounting and Secretarial.
Accounting options include Business Management and Financial Accounting.
Any one or two of the following can be taken: Typewriting (40wpm), Principles of Cost Accounting, French or Music, Economics and Mathematics (Elective).
The Secretarial Options include Typewriting (40wpm) and Business Management and any one or two of the following can be taken: Financial Accounting, Principles of Cost Accounting, Clerical Office Duties, French or Music, Economics and Literature in English.
Und the Technical Program is Technical Drawing with two or three of the following: Applied Electricity, Auto Mechanics, Building Construction, Electronics, Metalwork, Woodwork, Mathematics (Elective), Physics and French.
The Vocational Program has two options – Home Economics and Visual Arts.
Home Economics Options include Management-In-Living with one of the following: Clothing and Textiles and Foods and Nutrition.
Under General Knowledge-In-Art, one of the following: Textiles, French, Economics, must be taken.
Under Visual Arts, one of the following: Graphic Design, Picture Making, Basketry, Ceramics, Jewelry, Leather work, Sculpture and Textiles must be taken.
In addition, any one of the following subjects may be selected: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics (Elective), French, Economics and Literature-in English.
The general programs has two options: General Arts and General Science.
Under General Arts, candidates must enter three or four of the following: Christian Religious Studies, Geography, Government, History, Literature-in English, Islamic Religious Studies, Economics, Mathematics (Elective) and Music.
One of the following languages must be taken French, Dagaare, Dagbani, Dangme, Ewe, Ga, Gonja, Kasem, Nzema, Twi (Akuapem) and Twi (Asante).
Under General Science, Mathematics is an elective but two or three of the following: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, French or Music and Geography is required.
Private Candidates may enter for one or more core subjects and/or one or more elective subjects from the Programs of their choice.
Candidates should verify the combination of subjects available from the Regulations and Syllabus for the examination.