They might get away with it now, but soon, WAEC will require this for promotion to Junior High, Senior High levels.
By Tina S. Mehnpaine
Sentee Kerkula, Principal of the Totota Lutheran High School located in Totota, Bong County has said that his institution’s 9th and 6th graders could not write the 2020 Liberia Junior High School Certificate Exam (LJHSCE) and the Liberia Primary Certificate Exam (LPCE) due to the school’s failure to purchase mathematical sets which is one of the requirements to write the test.
The LJHSCE is basically meant to prepare students for the West African Senior Students Certificate Exam (WASSCE) that is administered for 12th graders in 5 countries including Liberia, Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone and The Gambia.
Though Mr. Kerkula admitted that the WAEC calendar, which contains the information about registration, requested for school administrators to have students purchase the scientific calculators, he said it was not clear to him.
Mr. Kerkula in a telephone interview told Daily Observer that “it was written in the calendar to buy the mathematical set, but we felt that it was the school buying a ‘single calculator’ and not per student.”
He said it was during the school’s registration through the WAEC online portal that he realized that the registration was not going through. He, therefore, decided to contact the WAEC office, which informed him that the school had to purchase the mathematical sets to allow them to register with WAEC.
According to him after they were informed by WAEC, he then started to engage parents and guardians, but they refused to pay on grounds that the time is too short to foot the extra expense. Moreover, once you have 21 students you must buy 21 calculators.
“WAEC is saying that if you registered your students and you failed to buy mathematical set, which cost US$7, your students will not write the exam,” Kerkula said.
According to him, looking at the economic crisis, he thought it wise to agree with parents and guardians to postpone the test to the next academic year. He also said, “we are engaging WAEC to see reasons to allow our students to write the next year, despite them going to the tenth grade.”
He further explained that for the 6th Graders their parents did not pay for the exam, so the institution and WAEC will not be held liable. “For our 6th Graders their parents felt that the exam was not important for them, so they did not pay for the test.
When contacted, Prince Nabge, Public Relations Officer of WAEC, said the purchasing of the mathematical set was a decision reached by the national committee headed by the Deputy Minister for Instruction at the Ministry of Education (MOE) and it was agreed upon that all schools across the country should buy the calculators.
“It was agreed upon that without the mathematical set you not be allowed to write the test,” Nagbe said.
“We cannot be held accountable for schools’ refusal to buy the calculators. Moreover, WAEC as an institution is not responsible for the promotion of students, so the students will be promoted to the next class then they will write the exam next year, depending on if the school registers their students again.”
According to Nagbe, for now, the primary and junior high standardized tests do not determine whether students get promoted or not but, in the near future, “before any students pass to the 7th and 10th grades, that person might have passed the test.”