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Episcopal Education Board Fined L$250K for Graduating 40 Failing Students

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Kakata, Margibi County – The Ministry of Education (MoE) has levied a fine of L$250,000 on the Episcopal Education Board and recommended the immediate dismissal of the principal of the St. Augustine’s Episcopal Mission High School in Kakata, Margibi County for allegedly graduating 40 students, who failed the West African Senior School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE).

The MoE’s decision comes barely a month after the St. Augustine’s Episcopal High School Principal, Abe K. Kekula, lambasted the Education Ministry for setting passing mark in the WASSCE as a pre-requisite for the graduation of 12th graders.

Kekula had argued that the Ministry’s mandate was outside of established standing policies of the education policy of the country, vowing to graduate students who failed the regional examinations.

James G. Gaye, Acting Education Officer of Margibi County, at a hastily arranged press conference in Kakata on Tuesday, September 17, quoted a communication in his procession dated September 13, 2019 from the MoE under the signatory of Minister Ansu D. Sonii addressed to the Episcopal Education Board of Liberia stated that the Ministry’s decision to impose the fine against the faith-based institution was the result of their school’s Principal’s blatant violation of the Ministry policies. 

“The Ministry of Education wishes to register it disappointment over the blatant disrespectful behavior of Mr. Abe K. Kekula the Principal of the St. Augustine’s Episcopal High School located in Kakata, Margibi County. In a communication to your office in July this year, the Ministry informed you of a statement of defiance and disregard for the Ministry’s policy on graduation in 2019 by the same Principal. He said he would graduate all students weather they passed or not and he did it,” Mr. Gaye quoted the MoE’s letter.

Gaye alleged that the St. Augustine’s Episcopal High School Principal issued final clearance and printed diplomas before the release of the WASSCE results, something he noted was in total violation of the country’s education administrative and management policies; however, Gaye did not quote the specific chapter being violated.

The Margibi County Acting CEO added: “The Ministry wants Mr. Kekula out of job because of ‘disorderly conduct’. Going on the air to say that he will disregard the Ministry of Education’s policies and the fact that he could even go to get an air time to challenge the Ministry of Education that once his students passed in the school whether they failed in the WASSCE he could graduate them, that is a disregard and defiance to the Ministry of Education!”

Additionally, Mr. Gaye said that the St. Augustine’s School Principal on August 25, 2019, graduated 40 students who failed the West African Senior School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE), but the MoE is in procession of evident of only one student which triggered the levying of the fine of L$250,000, and the Ministry’s demand for his immediate removal by the Episcopal Education Board.

Gaye, however, announced that the Ministry of Education has given up to September 20, to the Episcopal Education Board to make the deposit into government’s revenue at the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA).

When contacted, the St. Augustine’s Episcopal High School Principal, Abe K. Kekula, refused to comment on the matter, adding that the Episcopal Education Board was handling the issue with authorities of the Ministry.

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