Fear of Mass Failure Looms at WASSCE

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Almost immediately after the 5,034 students began writing the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), the process came under criticism and complaints, with students claiming they were inadequately prepared at the various laboratories and libraries at their respective schools.

At the Paynesville Community High School (PCS), in the Voker Mission vicinity, the 342 students who sat the test were embittered after they observed that practical questions in the Physics were incomprehensible to them owing to “poor laboratory preparation.”

The Physics— with the code number 512— was the first and only test administered to the students across the 44 testing centers Thursday, April 3.

The WASSCE is being administered to 47 schools by the West African Examination Council (WAEC) office in Montserrado, Margibi and Grand Bassa Counties.

“We only have the laboratory constructed, but there are no materials or teaching staff to conduct the lab preparation,” the students cried in separate interviews with the Daily Observer Thursday shortly after completing the test.

PCS Principal, Alphonso Kanboh, agreed with the students’ complaints when he told this paper, “Our challenges are enormous in the school. Our lack of an equipped laboratory at PCS and irregularly attended classes by the students themselves all add to the problems.”

According to him, the school is in need of laboratory materials for the students to do their practical exercises; otherwise they would of course be unprepared for the WASSCE.

However, Mr. Kanboh did not give up his hopes of the students passing the test, predicting that the result may fall between the 50 to 60 percentile in favor of the student populace.

The Head of the National Office (HNO) of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) in Monrovia, John Y. Gayvolor, Sr., who also toured the various testing centers Thursday, was reportedly briefed by some of the school administrators about similar problems.

He was quoted as telling the students to remain focused and persevere to the end of the tests.

Students from the Charles J.S. Young Assembly of God High School (CJSAGM) in the Paynesville Community complained of the same poor laboratory preparation.

Students Annet Menyon, Macbeth Kyne, Darrgar Weana and Salomie Sundaygar, bitterly told the Daily Observer that their chances of passing upon completion of the exams were “at the mercy of God.”

“The Physics test was not so hard, but the practical portion, which had to do with practical lab work, was complicated, because we did not do any good lab practice,” the students cried.

The WASSCE examinations continue today and throughout the course of the month in several other subject areas.

Subjects the students will write throughout the course of the tests include English Language (which will be written in three different parts including objectives and essay questions). They will also take Advanced Mathematics, Organic Chemistry, Building Construction, Finance, and Electronics; all tests that will be written in a series of different parts. 

Of the number of registered students for the WASSCE, 2,569 are males constituting 51.03 percent, while 2,495 are females, who account for 48.97 percent.

Unlike last year when students who sat the WASSCE represented 32 schools only in Montserrado and Margibi counties, this year students registered form a total of 47 schools in three counties — Montserrado, Margibi and Grand Bassa.

Of the 47 schools, seven are public schools and constitute 15.91 percent, while the remaining 37 or 84.09 percent represent privately-owned or faith-based institutions.

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