With less than 24 hours for 9th graders across the country to sit this year’s exam administered annually by the Monrovia national office of the West African Examination Council (WAEC), the entity yesterday rescheduled the test abruptly, the Daily Observer was informed.
WAEC has reportedly deferred the 9th graders’ test, scheduled for today, May 19 and Friday, May 20 to Thursday, May 29 and Friday, 30th. No explanation was offered by the Monrovia office up to press time last night.
Following the abrupt decision yesterday, one Mr. Sherman has reportedly forwarded emails to authorities of schools which were selected as examination centers, informing them about the change in schedule.
But the chief administrator and principal of Ricks Institute in Virginia, outside Monrovia, Dr. Olu Q. Menjay, took exception to the postponement of the exams.
“Based on WAEC authority’s request to use our campus as a testing center, we gave a five day break to our students at Ricks,” Menjay reacted angrily.
“Just this morning (yesterday),” he continued, “We were notified that the 9th graders’ exams, which were scheduled for tomorrow and Friday, have been postponed to May 29 and 30.
“Ricks Institute will not be hosting the 9th graders’ exams, especially for this year. This abrupt postponement is unfair and unprofessional. This disorganization continues to affect the Liberian education system. This unplanned change by WAEC may lead to a forced extension of graduation. Indeed, there are financial implications for any extension especially for boarding schools. Who is going to pay for the extra cost outside the budget of institutions that suspended classes to give way for WAEC to use their facilities?
“Ricks Institute will close its institution as per the planned academic calendar and will not be held liable for others’ negligence,” Dr. Menjay declared.
He said “After all, one of the hallmarks in pedagogy (in academia) is expectation. Students and institutions were anticipating months ago to sit the exams on 17 and 18 May. Why is this change announced just a few hours before the exams? Note that WAEC has a year to plan for these exams. Yet, excuses are WAEC’s trademark each time the exams are scheduled to be held. WACE does not compromise its schedule when it is time for payment of the exam fees. This consistent action on the part of the entity is absolutely shameful,”
Menjay wondered what the Ministry of Education was saying regarding the abrupt change in the exam schedule.
This is the reason why he advocates not for himself, “but for the Liberian children and the quality of education in Liberia, and that Liberians need to follow this trend of abrupt change in the testing schedules to the end, which leads to subsequent graduation ceremonies,” said Menjay.
Other school administrators, who spoke to this newspaper late yesterday on condition of anonymity, expressed frustration with WAEC’s Monrovia Office. Some of the administrators, especially those under the banner of the Monrovia Consolidated School System (MCSS) agreed with Dr. Menjay’s assertion. They too wondered how the country’s education will improve when the sector is run by people whose decisions are saddled with controversies.
Mr. Gayvolor, and his Deputy in charge of testing, Dele Gboto, did not respond to Daily Observer phone calls and text messages informing them of the paper’s desire to interview them on the situation.
Deputy Education Minister, Dr. Romelle Horton, could not be reached for comment as her phone remained switched off up to press time last night.
Dr. Horton is government’s chief nominee to the WAEC.
The Ministry’s communications director, J. Maxim Bleetahn, could not confirm nor deny any reason for the postponement.
He attributed the situation to something that might be out of WAEC’s reach at the 11th hour, but did not state what that might be.
It may be recalled that when the climax of the trial exams was set in May (19-20) last year, the entity announced another shift in dates.
Last year, WAEC exams were rescheduled close to two weeks later than the previous date set, something that most school principals had welcomed.
In the same view, there were reports of exam leaks resulting in the “reprinting” of the exam papers.