UL Professor Identifies Cause for ‘Mass Failures’

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A professor at the University of Liberia Agriculture and Forestry Department, John T. Woods, says many Liberian students fail in public exams and the UL placement entrance examinations, “because of poor background in English.”

Prof. Woods’ observation is contained in his speech at a ceremony marking an honor bestowed upon him and Vice President Joseph Boakai by Alpha Phi Alpha on December 5, 2014 in Monrovia.

He indicated that, “As a professor at the Flagship University of Liberia, it is very clear to me that the education system has a major deficiency, especially in the Language Arts.”

He observed that except for students from the Firestone School System, majority of students in the country have not acquired basic skills in English Language, which is the nation’s official Lingua Franca.

 He also attributed part of the problem to instructors, who he said do not have adequate training in teaching English, thus resulting into passing the wrong information to students.

“The source of this problem is partly from the instructors.  Students from the Firestone School System are better trained in the English language and perform better in English than most students from some of the high schools.  Firestone High School has better qualified English teachers,” he acknowledged.

Alpha Phi Alpha being an organization that offers scholarship to students, professor Woods said, should therefore, assist the Ministry of Education in testing and qualifying all English teachers in high schools throughout the country.

Decline in quality education in post-war Liberia has claimed attention especially the mass failures realize in public examinations nowadays.

In 2013, all 25,000 candidates who sat the UL placement exam failed.

Amidst this big surprise, the then vice president for UL Relations, Dr. Momolu Getaweh, said that UL could not overturn the results around, because students proved beyond all reasonable doubts that they do not know English.

The 2014 entrance and placement exam at the UL also resulted into mass failures, with 15 successfully passing among 13,000 candidates.

In this year’s West African Examination, mass failures were also reported.  The result indicates that only a student from the Firestone School System passed the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) that was for the second time administered this year.

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