The nearly five months’ delay releasing results of exams administered by the West African Examination Council (WAEC) Monrovia National Head Office to students they registered last year as private candidates has raised concerns among said candidates.
As a result of the delay, the students say the Ministry of Education (MOE) and the WAEC National Office in Monrovia are holding their academic sojourn hostage.
The students, previously referred to as “re-sitters” were registered last year by WAEC Monrovia Office to re-sit the exams, administered under “Private Candidate Exams” (PCE).
The registration of students for the PCE came about when the MOE annulled the 2014 exams due to the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus disease (EVD), which also affected the country’s school system.
Joseph Q. Chea, a representative of some 3,846 students affected by the delay, said that the results are being delayed “because the MOE feels students who did not graduate last year were not qualified to write the PCE.”
WAEC Assistant Registrar, Dale Gboto, told the Daily Observer that the entire list of candidates who sat the PCE last August is with the MOE “because the MOE claimed some of the candidates did not meet the criteria to sit the test.”
“Anybody can write the PCE as a private candidate,” Mr. Gboto said, “be they recent graduates or people who graduated without passing the previous exams, because the exams are open to all candidates who submitted the necessary documentation.” The necessary documentation, according to him, is simply the current identification number from the student’s school. Otherwise, a private candidate could apply to take the PCE without any school affiliation.
The Daily Observer contacted the MOE Director of Communications, J. Maxim Bleetan, who said he would inform the Deputy Minister for Instruction, Dr. Romelle A. Horton, to ascertain the story. Dr. Horton is also the Government of Liberia’s chief nominee to WAEC.
However, when contacted again yesterday, Bleetan denied that the Ministry was withholding the results, but said, “What the MOE told WAEC is to do due diligence with the candidates list.” He however did not elaborate on what ‘due diligence’ meant with regard to the issue at hand.
The saga over the delayed release of the delayed PCE results stemmed from a letter from candidates at the Lott Carey Baptist Mission School in Brewerville, to WAEC requesting an audience to give reasons for the delay.
According to the candidates, WAEC acknowledged receipt of their letter, “but informed us that MOE had instructed them to hold on to the results until the MOE can reduce the number of candidates that reportedly passed successfully.
“We applied as private candidates and wrote the test, so why withhold our results,” Chea, asked.
Paragraph two of the candidates’ letter, dated December 22, 2015, reads: “We the below listed persons are registered candidates who wrote the August 2015 PCEs administered by your institution. It is now past 90 days since the exams were administered; and to date, no results (have been) published, nor any information given, thus leaving us wondering about the results, which directly affect our future educational pursuits.”
The letter was signed by eleven of the candidates and submitted to the WAEC office.
Meanwhile, Mr. Gboto has assured that WAEC would hold a press conference, “any time next week,” to announce the release of the PCE results.