Minister Sonii gives ultimatum: dismiss instructor or “get rid of entire school”
At least four students and one instructor were caught while reportedly cheating in the ongoing West African Secondary School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE) in Monterrado County, the Ministry of Education disclosed yesterday.
The ministry’s pronouncement came in the wake of series of fraudulent acts allegedly exhibited by a Social Studies instructor, identified as Francis Kokoi from the Mother Esther Nyema High School and other students in Montserrado County.
According Minister Ansu Sonii, the instructor was caught photocopying copy of the WASSCE exams, and while returning to the examination hall, proctors caught him red-handed with the photocopy in his jacket.
He told journalists that following this act the instructor was immediately arrested by the Liberian national Police with the help of a staff from the office WAEC and has been held in custody since Friday. “Mr. Kokoi, I am quite sure that the weekend has passed 72 hours, you are now out, but know that you have lost your job already.” He fumed.
Minister Sonii further recommended to the administration of the Mother Esther Nyema High School for an immediate dismissal of Mr. Kokoi. He described such act as criminal under the law, and said it is also against the rules of the WASSCE exams across the region, saying, “Either Mother Esther Nyema High School keeps you Mr. Kokoi, or we get rid of the entire school.”
The Education boss who sounded very angry, further emphasized that the Ministry will not accept any form of cheating, most especially in WASSCE Exams, adding that anyone caught will be prosecuted by the Ministry of Justice.
He noted that there are rules and regulations that govern West African countries that are participating in these WASSCE exams, and as such if any Country goes against these rules there are penalties.
“If Liberia is observed with massive fraudulent acts, we are going to be held liable, we are to be responsible to print exams for all countries in the region; the government does not have money for that,” he stated.
He indicated the following centers where these students were caught as, the New Hope Academy along the Somalia drive, St. Margaret High School, the National Islamic Girls School. The Minister had earlier said due to some reasons the names of those caught cheating were to be withheld, but only disclosed their exam numbers, “two males and two females“ (2101952004, 2111358005, 210195007, 210195008).
According to Minister Sonii the two females students are from the National Islamic Girls School and they were caught cheating in Geography and Physics. “The gentleman who was caught with a telephone receiving answers from out of the examination hall, is also from the New Hope Foundation Academy. He is hereby disqualified for one year”, the Minister disclosed.
However these students have been disqualified from the WASSCE exams in those subjects. He further warned instructors and school administrators against collecting what he called “Flexibility Fees” from students and also encouraged parents to avoid paying these illegal fees as it helps to create laziness in students.
At the same time, the Education Minister alleged that he knows a particular center around the Hotel Africa region where he lives, that he received news of related issues for which he said there is ongoing investigation. If anyone is found in such act the ministry will not also fail to act.