Liberia: Booker Washington Institute Controversially Approves 11th Graders to Take Regional Exams


Kakata, Margibi – Senior students of the Booker Washington Institute in Margibi County have lambasted the school administration for reportedly registering eleventh graders to sit this year’s West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).

Report by Yawah Y. Jaivey in Kakata, Margibi County

The BWI students are craving the Ministry of Education’s immediate intervention.

Authorities of the West African Examination Council on Wednesday, April 24, kicked off the conduct of the WASSCE exams with practical and Physical Geography being the first test.

The enraged senior students of BWI told FrontPageAfrica just before sitting their first test on Wednesday morning that the administration recently drafted a pilot project that would allow eleventh graders to particpate in the regional exams, which is meant for only senior secondary students in the West African region.

Sharry A. Numah, a senior student of the Electrical department, said that they were only informed about the administration’s decision on April 16, when 10 junior students (eleventh graders) had joined them to write the mock examinations.

He said the administration’s decision to pair them with junior students to has triggered protest by senior students, thus constraining the school authorities to have reverted its earlier decision by discontinuing the junior students’ participation.

“When we engaged the administration, they told us that what was going on was legal and has all the backing of the Ministry of Education. The Principal Tarnue told us he was the evident and document to this pilot project.” Student Numah narrated. 

He asserted that registering eleventh graders to take the most accalimed regional test was in total contravention of the regulations and criteria set up by the West African Examination Council for secondary school candidates.

Student Numah alleged that those selected junior students are relatives of top administrative staff of BWI and are solely being placed into the WASSCE exams to be eligible for a foreign scholarship allotment that has been proffered to the school.

Another student of the electronics department, Tarnue E. Kerkula, Jr., termed the administration’s action as mismanagement of tax-payers’ money due to the fact that the Government of Liberia has taken the responsibility to underwrite the WASSCE fees for 12th graders across the country.

“When these students failed, they will still be registered to write the next WASSCE and government will still be obligated in paying their fees. This, in my mind, is the mismanagement of Liberian people resources,” an angry Kerkula said.

The students are at the same time calling on the Government through the Ministry of Education to investigate the BWI administartion for its decision.

Sam-Sumo Bahbor, Media Marketing and Public Relations Officer of the Booker Washington Institution (BWI), confirmed a report showing that eleventh graders were registrared to write this year West African Senior School Certificate Examination by the authorities of the school.

Bahbor stated: “This information is not a secret because this issue about this pilot program was duly communicated with the local Ministry of Education office and authorities of the West African Examination Council Monrovia Office. That is why these students were accepted to write the exams.”

He noted that there was no problem with junior students of BWI writing the WASSCE exams because they are equally qualified like other 12th graders in the regular academic school.

Despite the BWI administration assertion that the Ministry of Education county office is aware of its decicion, the Acting County Education Officer of Margibi County via Mobil phone on Wednesday denied the claim.

James G. Gaye said it was “never possible for the MOE to grant a school authorization to register junior students to the write West African Senior School Certificate Examinations which is solely intended for senior students”. Mr. Gaye told FPA that he was in “total shock” to hear such news emanating from a renowned institution like the BWI. He, however, promised to make an inquiry into the matter.