Wants parents take responsibility
After paying fees for students who sat the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) pilot projects for the last five years, the Government of Liberia (GoL) over the weekend announced that it is no longer in the position to shoulder the payment of examination fees for any group of candidates who qualify to sit the exam.
Deputy Education Minister for Instruction, Dr. Romelle A. Horton, who is the government’s chief nominee to the West African Examination Council (WAEC), announced the GoL’s decision on Friday, November 17 at the end of the 2017 series of WAEC Committee meetings hosted in Monrovia.
“It has become absolutely necessary to sensitize education stakeholders to the need for individual and collective efforts at providing funds for the examination, particularly the payment of examination fees at the registration stages by both school and private candidates,” Dr. Horton said.
She said government took the decision considering the growing number of the student population and the huge costs involved with writing the exam.
“The GoL is obviously no longer in a financial position to shoulder the responsibility of paying examination fees for any group of candidates at WASSCE level in view of the various commitments currently competing for the very lean resources available to her. We therefore appeal to parents, corporate organizations, international donor agencies and philanthropic private individuals to braze up towards the payment of WASSCE fees for their children and wards or the provision of scholarships for the indigent (poor) students,” Deputy Minister said.
Dr. Horton told the gathering that the decision was taken after diligent consideration of the current costs of materials, printing, air freighting, goods and services, “the GoL has calculated and estimated at US$60 per candidate as the minimum amount required to conduct WASSCE in Liberia, and that the examination will be taken by all 12th graders with effect from 2018.”
While in the meeting, she said the Liberia Examinations Committee received reports on the examinations WAEC conducted in the country in the 2016/17 reporting period, which considered reports on cases of irregularity and applied appropriate sanctions against all the candidates with proven involvement in examination malpractice.
The committee, meanwhile, expressed delight that there was no leakage of question papers in Liberia during the reporting period, and urged the government to take urgent steps to prevent the “rogue websites that operate as distribution centers for examination fraudsters in some member countries from taking root in Liberia.”
The committee congratulated the government and people of Liberia on the country’s full adoption of WASSCE, which has now given the Liberian child the opportunity and confidence to compare and compete with his/her mates internationally. It urged that the statistics of performance in the 2017 Liberia School High School Certificate Examination (LSHSCE) and WASSCE be taken as a wake-up call for concerted efforts by all stakeholders towards improving the teaching/learning process in the school system. It then commended WAEC for constantly providing guidance through the production of statistics and chief examiners’ reports on all the subjects examined, and advised the relevant stakeholders to embark on full implementation of the chief examiners’ recommendations for improved performance in the years ahead.
At the meeting, the Liberia Administrative and Finance Committee considered, among other matters, the reports of internal and external auditors on the accounts of the national office, where the committee commended the management for “prudent management of resources and strict adherence to the council’s monitoring mechanisms for the prevention of waste and fraud.”
Dale G. Gbotoe, Head of WAEC Monrovia National Office, said the members of the various committees expressed appreciation to the GoL through the Ministry of Education (MoE) for the support and assistance that the national office has continued to receive for the successful execution of the council’s mandate in the country.
Gbotoe said the committee expressed profound appreciation to the GoL for taking over the payment of examination fees for all the WASSCE candidates in public schools from parents during the piloting period from 2013 to 2017, in addition to the payment of contribution to WAEC headquarters and subvention to the national office.
The week long meetings of the various committees of WAEC-Liberia, which started in Monrovia on November 13 and ended on Friday, November 17, brought together several high profile individuals, including the Dr. Iyi J. Uwadiae, Registrar to the Council; Dr. Michael P. Slawon, director-general, National Commission on Higher Education; representatives from the Association of Liberian Universities, among others.
WAEC is a non-profit organization that collaborates with the relevant government departments or agencies on the implementation of government’s educational policies and initiatives. The council’s WASSCE is an international examination which presents member countries with a myriad of advantages and opportunities, while also placing on stakeholders certain responsibilities, including the payment of candidates’ fees to cater for the conduct of the examination.