On WASSCE, Gov’t Somersaults

Min. Sonii: "Students who will fail the 2020/2021 WASSCE will return to class to complete the school year, but for now, students who complete the school year are allowed to graduate."

-MoE declares graduation open to all

The Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) administration has not gotten it right once again, therefore leading to a change of mind and, unfortunately, authorities of the Ministry of Education (MoE) are in the spotlight on this one. Many were shocked Thursday when the MoE new leadership, which came with the impression of being in top gear to reform the education sector, rescinded its decision that only successful candidates in the maiden edition of the 2017/2018 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) would have had the opportunity to form part of graduation ceremonies across the country.

The ministry has also partly reconsidered its decision that those who failed the WASSCE will have to repeat the 12th Grade, differing that policy action to the 2020-2021 academic school year.

WASSCE is a type of standardized test in West Africa. It is administered by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) National Office. It is only offered to candidates residing in Anglophone West African countries and for academic school-leaving students upon successful completion of the exams.

At a press conference yesterday, Education Minister D. Ansu Sonii,  said the country’s education system is in an emergency and therefore needs the efforts of everyone to revive it.

According to him, the current MoE management was not the team that mandated that WASSCE be taken this year, but the previous administration. This comment was apparently in response to criticism that the schools were ill-prepared for the WASSCE, a situation that might have contributed to mass failure.

“Though we welcome this decision, it is something we inherited,” Sonii said.

Deputy Minister for Administration at MOE at a press conference last month, said schools will not be permitted to graduate students who failed the WASSCE, but will allow the failed student/s to re-enroll the next academic year as any other regular students, “because there will be no more re-sitter’s exams.”

He at the time warned school administrators to withdraw clearances they issued to prospective graduates in the absence of the WASSCE results or face the consequences.

But Minister Sonii noted at yesterday’s press conference that all schools are cleared to conduct graduation ceremonies for all of their senior students, who they deemed successful for the 2017-2018 academic year. The minister also noted that the decision that those who failed the WASSCE will repeat the 12th Grade will not be applied until the 2020-2021 school year.

This latest and many other failed policy decisions and controversial appointments have proven that the CDC-led administration is suffering from confidence crisis. Many of the government’s decisions, especially appointments and policy statements, have received a barrage of criticism, both here and abroad, and have often led to those decisions being rescinded.

 The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) stated on last Wednesday that only 49.98 percent of candidates who wrote its 2018 school certificate examination obtained credit passes and above.

WAEC recently presented results of its maiden exams covering senior and junior high schools that took part in the WASSCE.

In the senior high category, of which a total of 33,979 candidates from 600 high schools submitted entries, 21,580 candidates representing 65.15 percent of candidates who sat the examination were unsuccessful.

According to WAEC authorities, only 11,544 candidates representing 34.85 percent of candidates who sat the examination made a successful pass in individual subjects. The exam was administered from April 3 to April 20, 2018.

“855 candidates’ results are withheld for examination malpractice, including 60 candidates who were caught with cell phones, 40 candidates caught with foreign materials, 62 candidates caught for irregular activities, 122 candidates for insults and assaults and 571 candidates from 14 schools for collusion,” WAEC’s authorities said.


  1. This goes to point out, Mr. Minister, that the government needs to study, evaluate and weigh these circumstances well before shoving its feet wherever, usually in the mouth. That goes from the lowest rung up to the helm. That’s how we know our leaders know what they’re doing, inevitable little missteps notwithstanding. The converse spells despondency and general hopelessness. Bad for a people yearning for emancipation from their seeming condemned lots.

  2. Ha, ha, ha…The educational fraud continues under Prof. Senile Sonii.. Social promotion is back! Poor people children are the biggest losers when these clowns (Sonii) are in charge of educating our children.

  3. The MOE should STOP subjecting these young people to these standardized tests when they have not been adequately prepared to sit and pass it. This will only damage our children psychologically that they don’t have the ability to pass these exams when that is not the case. Liberian children are as smart as any kid in the world, but they have to be provided with the right resources and responsive learning environment, which is currently absent in many public/government schools. It makes good educational policy sense to withdraw Liberia from from WAEC/WASSE for the next 2-3 years and put in place a rigorous educational reform program to begin preparing these kids. In the interim, MOE can re-introduce the National Exams to serve as a barometer to measure progress students are making with their learning. A one-shot standardized test is no way of measuring students’ learning over a given period or academic year; that is why multiple approaches to learning ought to be introduced to bring out the best in all of our children. The new policy not to hold any kid behind from graduating, is a good one because it serves no good purpose to do so when in fact they could never pass the WASSE exam. However, I would recommend that a PROVISIONAL Certificate be issued on the condition that those who have failed the exam be required to Complete 50 hours of Homework Assignments before a Full certificate is issued. The emphasis should be placed on Learning rather than using Tests to determine learning.

  4. My people hold on before firing your negative analytical guns!! Isn’t this what we want from a responsible leadership; they have realized that it wasn’t timely to implement the current policy.

    This is typical for any project. You plan, execute, control and evaluate. My people, making corrections is part of control; is this not what we want from a responsible leadership? I know some of you will say it’s poor planning, but I beg to differ for the mere fact that this administration has been proactive and continue to take decisions to right the ship.

    Kudos to you guys at the ministry. Your job is the most important, in my view, after our civil conflict. An educated populace is well on its way to make good decisions first, about health, agriculture, youth development and empowerment, etc.. Therefore, we admonish (being critical positively)and support good decisions for a better educated country.


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