‘No Graduation Before WASSCE Results’

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Ministers Sonii and Da Thong at Wednesday's media interaction.

Says MoE, sets July 24 to release results

Deputy Education Minister for Administration, Lathim Da Thong, has said that results for the 2019 West African Senior School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE) will be released on July 24. Henceforth, he said, all graduation-related exercises should be held only after that date, and noted that the ministry will impose heavy fines on schools having “thanksgiving services” and graduation ahead of the July 24 date.

Da Thong made the disclosure on Wednesday, June 5, 2019 at a media interaction forum the ministry, hosted in Monrovia.

WASSCE is a type of standardized test in West Africa. It is administered by the West African Examination Council (WAEC), which has one of its national headquarters in Monrovia. It is only offered to candidates residing in Anglophone West African countries.Minister Da Thong warned that any violator(s) that would graduate students in the absence of WASSCE’s result would be fined, and that the fine would hurt such schools to the extent that those falling in such category by defying the regulation would no longer function as schools.

On the other hand, he said schools will not be permitted to graduate students who failed the Senior School Certificate Examinations, but will allow the failed student(s) to re-enroll the next academic year, “or register for re-sitter’s exams.”

Though the MoE admitted to the many challenges in the system including the lack of laboratories and libraries, especially for many public schools across the country, Mr. Da Thong has meanwhile warned school administrators to withdraw clearances that have been issued to prospective graduates in the absence of the WASSCE results or face the consequences.

In a related development, Education Minister D. Ansu Sonii has threatened to dismiss principals whose students would fail WASSCE.Minister Sonii told reporters that public school principals of schools that would have all its candidates failing the 2018-2019 WASSCE should either resign or be purged. He said principals will lose their posts because the failure of all of their students at the exam is a sign of “weak and poor supervision.” According to him, it is the duty of the principals to ensure that students are properly taught the required materials, noting they need to ensure that teachers who do not come to classes are punished.

He said the ministry is taking the result of the WASSCE very seriously, and that when students failed, it is the school and its principal and teachers who failed. Minister Sonii said students need to be encouraged to be studious because, according to him, students who failed the WASSCE will not be allowed to graduate, but go back into the classroom.

“They will have to wear uniforms and repeat the 12th Grade,” the minister said. He also said that the ministry would reintroduce national exams for six graders and during the 2019-2020 school year would do the same for 3rd graders. Sonii said the move is intended to strengthen students at the primary level, while preparing them for the senior high school certificate exams.

In an effort to complete the academic year 2018/2019, the MoE has also encouraged school administrators and proprietors to comply with all regulations set forth, including adherence to timeline of the academic calendar, which indicates that academic period for 2018-2019 runs from September 3, 2018 to July 19, 2019. This warning comes in the wake of of reports that some schools have planned to close on an early date for the academic year, inconsistent to the national academic calendar; the ministry has called on all school administrators to adhere to the official closing date.

“A school must ensure that the prescribed curriculum is completed and that all schools will close by July 19.”The Wednesday’s event brought together school administrators, among them the Monrovia Consolidated School Superintendent and the head of the parents-teachers association.

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