Liberia: Pres. Weah Wants Better WASSCE Results

Under President George Weah's watch, Liberia has shown a slight improvement in the Human Development Index (HDI).

.... “Students, we cannot sit and watch you fail the [WASSCE] and fall behind your regional counterparts,” Weah said.

President George Manneh Weah sounded a reality check to high school seniors this week, urging them to take responsibility for their performance in the West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examinations (WASSCE). 

The admonishment comes especially as his administration continues to make notable efforts to ease the financial burdens on them and their parents in preparation for the standardized exams. 

“My government continues to pay 12th graders’ WASSCE fees and support tutorial classes and the free tuition policy at all public universities,” the President said in his remarks at this year’s Flag Day celebration, at the Centennial Pavilion in Monrovia. “These measures are meant to ease the financial burden on parents and motivate our children. 

The 2022 WASSCE results brought a sigh of relief to many Liberians who had been holding their breaths, anticipating yet another year of massive failures, as was the case in successive years past. This year, however, the West African Examinations Council announced that over 52 percent of Liberian students had passed in at least five out of nine subjects. 

For the 2022 exam, the total number of candidates that passed at least five subjects — a prerequisite to graduate — increased from 8,818 in 2021, to a whopping 22,628, constituting 52.71 percent of the total 42,926 candidates that sat the exams. This was nearly triple the amount of passes compared to the previous year (2021), when only 8,818 (21.52 percent) students passed in five subjects. 

But to some, perhaps including President Weah, this may not be good enough. This year’s major improvement still means that more than 47 percent did not pass the standardized exams. Further, the exam results reveal that, of the 22,628 who passed in at least five subjects, only 389 passed in all five subjects “with credit”, meaning they had a score of 65% or better in each subject. Passing “with credit” puts a student in a competitive category and makes them more attractive to higher-education institutions.  So practically, the number of students who passed “with credit” did not even reach one percent. 

Perhaps this may have been the perspective the President may have been speaking from, when he urged students and their parents to take advantage of every opportunity his administration provides, in order for students to get ahead. 

“Students, we cannot sit and watch you fail the West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examinations and fall behind your regional counterparts,” the President said. “You have to take the responsibility, you and your parents, to take advantage of the opportunity that your Government is offering you.” 

He said his government is aware that Liberians face challenges in the determination to provide quality education, better facilities, more qualified teachers, and better instructional materials to improve the education ecosystem in Liberia.  

“But, working together, we can achieve it,” he said. “The value of education in your life is something nobody can take from you. If you want to be whatever you want to be, then place emphasis on getting the education that will enable you to achieve your dream. 

“As we celebrate the 175th National Flag Day, I call on all students to take their education seriously, for it is the key to your future.  President John F. Kennedy of the United States once said, and I quote: ‘Let us think of education as the means of developing our greatest abilities, because in each of us there is a private hope and dream which, when fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength for our nation. One person can make a difference, and everyone should try.”

Meanwhile, Weah has called on Liberians to respect authority, saying too often, people express their dissatisfaction, disappointment, and anger in such a manner that shows indiscipline and disregard for the rule of law.

He added that  a great Liberian educator and statesman, Dr. T. Ebenezer Ward, once said, and I quote: "The greatest peril to our Liberian democracy lies in the illiteracy of our Liberian youths."

“Education is indeed a critical key to preserving our democracy. I challenge all Liberians today to use this peace we all cherish to show that we can make for ourselves a better life and give our children the chance to become the great leaders of tomorrow,” he said. “Let us put aside our differences and come together as a strong united force to develop our country and improve the lives of the Liberian people.” 

“I am convinced that, working together as One People and One Nation, we shall overcome every trial and tribulation, put our people and economy on the proper trajectory to prosperity, and place our motherland on an irreversible path of progress and development. So, on this day, let us remember that the Lone Star is our symbol of Peace and National Unity.” Weah added.