The Ministry of Education (MOE) in partnership with the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) on Tuesday, December 10, dedicated the newly constructed science laboratories at the Harbel Multilateral High School (HMHS) in Lower Margibi County.
The exercise, according to the consultant to the Minister of Education, Victoria Kahn Kennedy, is part of MOE’s partnership with NOCAL aims at enhancing and or improving science education across the country.
The exercise, she said, will cover the entire country, but in strategic locations of other high schools to benefit students in nearby communities or schools.
The laboratories contain chemistry, physics and biology safety materials including goggles, gloves, coats, etc.
Earlier in a special statement at the dedicatory ceremony, deputy Education Minister, Hawa Goll-Kotchi, informed the audience that the construction of the laboratories will enable them (students) perform better in the science subjects during the annual nationwide test administer by the West African Examination Council (WAEC).
“We are trying to establish laboratories in all our public schools because we’re moving toward the writing of West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSC), and it is based on this that we are collaborating with NOCAL to encourage our students to turn out for that academic challenge.”
WASSCE is a type of standardized test in West Africa. It is administered by the West African Examinations Council (WACE). It is only offered to candidates residing in Anglophone West African countries including Liberia. The WASSCE, also known as the General Certificate Examinations (GCE) allow all students both private and public schools to take this examination.
According to the Deputy Minister, at a recent meeting with WAEC officials in Monrovia, her office was informed that students across the country have always failed the science courses due primarily to the lacked of basic science teaching materials and or better equipped laboratories.
This, she said, was not healthy for the education sector of the country.
Also, during another round of meeting with WAEC regarding the poor performance by the students, Mrs. Kotchi assured members of WAEC from other West African countries that Liberia students would do better in the exams in the coming years. WAEC is being controlled by 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.
“With our ongoing exercise to recruit “trained science teachers,” coupled with the arrival of the Peace Corps and other volunteered teachers from the Economic Community of the West African States (ECOWAS), who are focused in the sciences, we can rest assure that our students will come out with flying colors in the coming years.”
Deputy Minister Kotchi then expressed the MOE’s gratitude to NOCAL for the partnership, which she believes would ensure that Liberia students have hand-on knowledge in the science subjects and to also get 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 aimed at enhancing education in the country.
The laboratories construction is a three-year project, which NOCAL in partnership with the MOE is undertaking across the country.
In two separate remarks, HMHS Principal Bee Myers Mortee, and president of the student government, John K. Taylor, expressed gratitude for the ceremony. They promised to maintain them at all times, and also use them for the intended purpose.