MONROVIA, Montserrado – After taking the West African Senior Secondary School Examinations, 69.6 percent of students did not feel confident they would pass the test, according to a study released by Open Liberia.
The civil society organization says it conducted the survey on 165 students on the last two days of the exams from 31 schools in Monrovia.
Although there had been previous public predictions that there would be a mass failure in WASSCE, this is the first time the predictions are being backed by data. Open Liberia’s prediction also matched the officials results coming from the West African Examinations Council, which reported that 65 percent of 12th graders failed.
WAEC said only 11,544 students representing 34.85 percent of candidates, who took the WASSCE made a successful pass in individual subjects.
Princess M. Zoduah, Open Liberia’s program officer, told a news conference on Thursday in Monrovia that she believed that the mass failure of students was due to the huge disparity between tested topics and topics covered in the students’ curriculum.
“Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics, and Biology came out as the most difficult subjects with different topics,” she said.
Zoduah said 66 percent of the respondents said topics covered were different from those taught in school.
Zoduah also noted that 77 percent of students in the study said they did not have functional laboratories in their schools. She said students who had laboratories in their schools complained about them having outdated equipment.
Against this background, Open Liberia is urging the government to exercise restraints in making policy decisions, especially those affecting students based on the results of this year’s WASSCE.
Zoduah explained that instead of the government focusing on punishing students for failing the exams, the issues that contributed to their failure must first be addressed, including the lack of laboratories and libraries in secondary schools as well as the poor skills of teachers in mathematics and science subjects.
“The government miserably failed to create, maintain, enhance or enforce an enabling environment for students to be prepared for these highly science-based exams,” Zoduah said.
Featured photo by Zeze Ballah