The Daily Observer has reliably learnt that the administration of this year’s tests to students across the country by the West African Examination Council (WAEC) has been deferred to next year.
Attempts by this newspaper to get comments from the Monrovia National Office of the West African Examination Council (WAEC) over the weekend were unsuccessful.
However, head of WAEC Monrovia office, John Y. Gayvolor, Sr., told the Daily Observer via mobile phone on Saturday that his team of administrators is committed to administering the test, but did not say when.
“We are still keeping to the exam schedule as everything is being done to avoid the reoccurrence of what we just experienced leading to the leakage of the tests,” Mr. Gayvolor told our reporter and subsequently hung up.
Meanwhile, it has been frequently reported over the weekend that the exams would be administered next year since the Monrovia office failed to raise the US$300,000 required to reprint copies of the exams.
As the test was already scheduled for last month, the euphoria of thousands of 12th graders died down when it was announced that the WAEC examination is cancelled, “because test materials have been stolen from their location at the Konola SDA high school campus.”
Following the stunning disclosure, the Ministry of Education (MOE) said the new dates are from June 27 to July 1.
MOE Director of Communications, J. Maxim Bleetahn, told the Daily Observer that issues relative to administering the exams would be discussed on Wednesday, June 8. Mr. Bleetahn, too, did not elaborate when asked whether the exams have been annulled for this year.
However, a number of 12th graders interviewed by the Daily Observer expressed frustration because of the “insurmountable problems” facing their education sojourn.
Up to press time last night, WAEC could not say whether any date has been set to administer the exams, or wether the exams have been postponed to next year due to “financial constraints.”
As for the reportedly leaked subjects, including mathematics, physics, and chemistry, sources informed this newspaper that new evidence has been unearthed linking some highly placed individuals in the education system to the “exam fraud.”
The test papers were kept at the Konola SDA high school campus in Margibi County. The MOE said it was burglarized by some unidentified persons.
Although a leak of exam papers is not a new phenomenon, many parents told the Daily Observer that they did not believe enough was done to secure the test papers, since WAEC and MOE authorities are aware of the potential dangers that come with administering WAEC examinations.
“It seems to me that the MOE and WAEC Liberia office were not fully prepared for the exam, because I cannot imagine why they allowed such to happen,” a female parent remarked.
The 9th grade examination did not start as planned because of poor management of materials at testing centers last month, and Mr. Gayvolor had earlier complained of logistical constraints.
“We had logistics, traffic and other problems, and so we have been able to take note of these things and can assure the students or the public that (those problems) will not be experienced during the senior high testing,” Mr. Garvolor said recently while commenting on the 12th graders’ WAEC exams.