CONGO TOWN, Montserrado – On Tuesday, April 3, about 34,000 12th grade students are expected to take the West Africa Senior Secondary Certificate Examinations for the first time in Liberia.
This is the first time Liberian students will join their English-speaking West African counterparts to participate in WASSCE. The tests will be administered at 216 centers across the country.
This is the first time all graduating high school students will be taking WASSCE instead of the Liberia Senior High School Certificate Examinations. However, unlike their West African counterparts, Liberian students will not be taking the science practical portion of the test because not all schools in Liberia are equipped with laboratories.
In an interview over the weekend at the Liberia office of the West African Examinations Council, Dale G. Gbotoe, the head of the national office, noted that the exam would take place over three weeks.
During the first week, there will be four days of exams. The second week contains two exam days while the third week has five days of exams.
Gbotoe said results are expected to be out in July, suggesting that schools may be asked to delay graduation until the results are published. Passing the exams is a requirement for graduation.
Gbotoe also said there would be a resitter exam for unsuccessful students. He cautioned school administrators to adequately prepare their students for the exam and shouldn’t mind that test will leak.
“In the past, we have observed that the failure of the students is because they think that the test will leak and so they don’t focus on the exam or even prepare for it,” he noted. “They don’t focus on what they have been taught in school, but rather on collecting fake test answers.”
He added that the exams will be administered by Liberian instructors, but the grades will be determined by the regional body.
Gbotoe also addressed issues of refunds for families who had paid the WASSCE fees before the government announced that it would cover the fees for all students.
During the first State of the Nation Address by President George M. Weah, he announced that fees for the 2018 exams for senior students would be covered for students in both public and private schools.
Gbotoe said that while the government has paid a good portion of the US$2.1 million required, it still owed WAEC.
“It is because of this we have not turned over the money of schools who did pay their money,” he said, adding that WAEC would only refund schools when the government has paid in full.
A certificate stating that students have successfully passed the exams will be required to enter colleges, obtain jobs, and receive U.S. visas.
Liberia has long delayed its participation in WASSCE due to the civil war. In 2013, some Liberian schools began taking the exams on a pilot basis, which was conducted for four years.
Featured photo by Bruce Strong/Together Liberia