Hundreds of high school students across the country are expected to join their colleagues from other West African countries to write the 2018 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) on Tuesday, April 4, the Minister of Education has confirmed.
WASSCE is a type of standardized test in West Africa. It is administered by the National offices of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) to candidates residing in Anglophone West African countries.
Also known by its former name as the General Certificate Examinations (GCE), all students from private and public schools are allowed to take this examination, and uniforms are not compulsory. However, other rules and regulations are applied to every candidate, including students wearing distinctive uniforms as described in the standards set by respective school administrations.
Acording to Minister Ansu D. Sonii, the students are expected to complete writing the exam in three weeks.
Unlike students in other West African countries who will write the exam in 14 different subjects, Sonii said Liberian students will this year write nine different exam papers.
He said the exam will be administered at 210 centers across the country, but did not say how many students are being processed and qualified to sit the Tuesday’s exam.
Minister Sonii assured that supervision will be of serious priority, “because Liberia will reprint the exam papers for their entire region in case there should be suspected leakage for any reason.”
Based on this, he said some of the Ministry’s staffers are being selected and will be deployed to monitor and/or supervise the exam.
He meanwhile threatened that, if needs be, in the case of suspected malpractices, the MoE’s authorities will seek the intervention of riot police.
Sonii said those hired staff members will also observe exam proctors or examiners, to ensure that “nothing goes wrong,” while the exam is being administered.
Minister Sonii has, therefore, called on principals and school administrators, to ensure that the exam is conducted in a “free, fair and transparent manner void of cheating and fraud.”
Sonii told a news conference yesterday in Monrovia that the administration has selected 210 campuses as testing centers.
The exam, according to him, will be administered for three weeks; and during that period, classes will be suspended on those selected campuses for the exam, until the exercise is over.
Minister Sonii disclosed that other schools, whose campuses are not selected, will remain in session. He assured that students affected by the administering of the WASSCE will be provided the same number of days to make up for the lost days.
He however said schools that have the capacity to administer the exam and at the same time hold regular classes can remain in session. For instance, he noted, if a school like Tubman High has space to host the examiners, and at the same time conduct regular lessons, their doors can remain open.
He said the MoE will give high schools a period of two years, to create spaces that will be used to conduct WASSCE, like is being done in other neighboring countries.
Minister Sonii then threatened to downgrade schools that will not have exam centers two years from March 29, 2018, noting that at the close of 2020, those schools would have been prepared to administer the exam at their respective campuses.
In a related development, Minister Sonii has said that civics will be introduced in every school beginning next academic calendar.
He said teachers’ and student’s editions of the civic text books are now available and plans are underway to reproduce many copies of the teacher’s edition, which would be distributed to all schools in the 15 counties, while the Ministry prints students’ copies later.