The Ministry of Education (MOE) in partnership with the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) has dedicated several newly constructed science laboratories at various high schools in Montserrado, Harbel, and Margibi and in Sinje, Grand Cape Mount counties respectively.
The projects, according to the consultant to Education Minister, Victoria Kahn Kennedy, were constructed and funded by NOCAL. Madam Kennedy said that part of MOE’s partnership with the entity is aimed at improving science education across the country.
The exercise is expected to cover the entire country, but in the strategic locations of particular high schools to benefit students in nearby communities. The laboratories contain safety materials for the sciences including goggles, gloves, and coats.
In a statement during one of the recent dedicatory ceremonies, deputy Education Minister, Hawa Goll-Kotchi, informed the audience that the construction of the laboratories would enable them (students) to perform better in the science subjects during the West African Examination Council (WAEC) WASSCE exams.
WASSCE is a type of standardized test in West Africa. WAEC administers the exams, and they are only offered to candidates residing in Anglophone West African countries, of which Liberia is included. The WASSCE, also known as the General Certificate Examinations (GCE) allow all students in both private and public schools to take this examination.
At a recent meeting with WAEC officials in Monrovia, the Deputy Minister, said her office was informed that students across the country always failed the science courses primarily due to the lacked of basic science teaching material and better equipped laboratories.
In addition, during another round of meeting with WAEC regarding the poor performance by students, Mrs. Kotchi assured members of WAEC from other West African countries that Liberian students would do better in the exams in the coming years. WAEC is controlled by four English-speaking countries: the Gambia, Nigeria, Ghana and Liberia.
The Deputy Minister’s assumption is due primarily to the construction and dedication of several other “well-equipped laboratories” across the country for high school students.
“Our ongoing exercise to recruit trained science teachers, coupled with the arrival of the Peace Corps and other volunteering teachers from ECOWAS who are focused in the sciences, we can rest assured that our students will come out with flying colors in the coming years,” she enthused.
Deputy Minister Kotchi then expressed the MOE’s gratitude to NOCAL for their partnership, which she believes would ensure that Liberian students have hands-on knowledge in the science subjects, while also getting attracted to the courses.
She then stressed the need for more corporate government partnerships particularly in the area of education.
“MOE’s intention is to ensure that public schools are well-equipped and considered places for education to draw the attention of students.”
Before cutting the ribbon to the labs, NOCAL vice president for Corporate Social Affairs, Pete Norman, said, “The dedication of the laboratories is to buttress government’s effort to enhance education in the country.
In their separate remarks, HMHS Principal Bee Myers Mortee, and president of the student government, John K. Taylor, expressed gratitude for the laboratories. They promised to maintain them at all times, and to use them for the intended purpose.