The national exams administered annually to 9th and 12th graders by the West African Examination Council (WAEC) has been deferred by the Ministry of Education (MOE) to 2016. In the absence of 2015 WAEC exams and exam results there will be no promotion or graduation for the two classes.
At the Ministry of Information regular Thursday press briefing in Monrovia, the new Education Minister, George Werner, said the decision not to promote 9th and 12th grades in the condensed school year is intended to enable the students to be fully prepared for the 2016 exams, which will be administrated next May.
He explained that 9th and 12th graders, who paid their WAEC fees for the 2015 October exams have already been credited for the May 2016 exams, despite the new academic school year for the country.
According to Minister Werner, during the second half (semester II) of the 2015/2016 school year, the 12th graders will be taught a curriculum designed to consolidate their learning and maximize their performance on
WAEC as well as teach appropriate life and career skills.
He said already, his administration has distributed the new textbooks, supplementary workbooks and instructional materials to schools in the various counties.
He added that during the August and September break, the MOE will provide teachers with training and instructional materials. The training will take into account the 2015 condensed school year.
In a related development, Minister Werner said a US$3.2 million Ebola Emergency Fund from the World Bank has been allocated to the MOE for the procurement and distribution of secondary textbooks for students from 10th to 12th grades in public schools from now to October.
He disclosed that his administration will also train 4000 teachers in public schools in the use of the textbooks and associated curricula.
Textbooks for grades 10 to 12 in the six core subjects of Mathematics, English, Economics, Biology, Physics, and Chemistry will be in Liberia soon for distribution.
The Minister said the school calendar for Early Childhood Development (ECD), basic and secondary schools will revert to the normal cycle with the 2015 condensed school year. The school year will end on July 31 this year.
Minister Werner said students in grades one to eighth, 10th and 11th may receive promotion on the basis of attainment, which includes the school’s judgment of the students’ performance if they have met the learning objectives for promotion.
The Minister maintained that all students will begin the 2015/2016 school year with books and the teachers will obtain new instructional and supplementary materials.
This will include additional training for teachers with the intention to ensure that the students and teachers are better equipped and supported compared to what it used to be in the last ten years.
“MOE is resetting the school year to the original cycle and rapidly making improvements during a short school break. This policy will provide a solid foundation for full recovery of teaching and learning, with students having more time in school to learn. Our teachers will be prepared and better supported,” he asserted.
According to him, many of the children in the rural areas were finding it very difficult to be in school during this rainy season, especially for poor rural children and their families.
He emphasized that the structural integrity of some of the schools have been so badly compromised that students have been evacuated to nearby makeshift facilities in which there are no basic facilities such as running water, latrines, etc.