By: Varney Dukuly
MONROVIA: Statistics from the West African Examinations Council (WAEC-Liberia), in recent years indicate the performance of Liberian students in the national exams beginning with the erstwhile governance era of the Unity Party (UP) to the current era of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) led government.
The WAEC statistical analysis which focuses on Liberia’s senior high school certificate examinations showcased students’ academic outputs under the two regimes through numbers.
The data which is in the possession of The ‘Investigative’ Independent newspaper indicates that in 2013, out of 26,886 Liberian candidates who sat for the exams, only 19, 175 passed, constituting 71.32 percent.
However, of the 27,799 who sat the exams in 2014, 12,945 students made a successful pass, which constituted 46.57%.
The latest performance statistics of Liberian students in the regional exams, covering the period (2013-to 2023), from WEAC also highlight progress made by Liberian students, especially under the regime of the CDC-led government, headed by incumbent President, George Manneh Weah.
In other words, some analysts reason that Weah’s government is rekindling the confidence and trust of Liberian students in the regional examinations as also evidenced by the recent results for Liberia.
They contend that the performance statistics of Liberian students during the erstwhile UP administration, then, headed by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, indicated a dismal failure on the part of officials of the former ruling Unity Party (UP), during its twelve years in state power as the Nation’s educational system, then, remained messy and wanting.
When the George Weah led government backed the payment of WASSE fees for Liberian students in 2019, 38,353 subsequently wrote the exams, but only 27,248 made a successful pass, constituting 71.05%.
In the following year, academic momentum grew in 2020 as 81.37% of Liberian students passed.
As if these were not enough, WEAC performance results for Liberian students from 2021 to 2023, are as follow: “93.83% in 2021, 95.79% in 2022, and 94.06% in 2023.”
Liberia embraced WASSE Examinations to put Liberian students on par with other African pupils in the ECOWAS region, mainly English-speaking countries.
There are countries including, Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, the Gambia, and Liberia where the exam has been used as a passage to college, and /or university.
Analysts also acknowledged that the data highlighted a slight improvement under the Unity Party led erstwhile government in the exams, especially in 2017 when the percentages for students success slightly increased to 58.55%.
While the data showed a decline in the education performance of students in national examinations in the country during UP’s erstwhile administration, there are still risks in the country’s education sector, despite efforts by the CDC government.
Of the risks posed to education in Liberia, the government, headed by President George Weah, has toppled the challenges in some significant ways, according to supporters of the current Liberian regime.
The government has touted that the placement of 2,800 volunteer teachers on payroll and increment of the salaries of 3,500 supplementary public school teachers as major achievements in a period of six years.
Recently, the results released by the West African Examinations Council highlighted improvement for Liberian students amidst other prevailing challenges, with experts giving credits to the George Weah administration in the lead up to the crucial Presidential and Legislative elections scheduled for 10, October, 2023.
“A total of 1,361,608 candidates, representing 84.38 percent, obtained credit and above in a minimum of five subjects with, or without English Language or Mathematics,” said WAEC.
It added that, “candidates numbering 1,287,920, representing 79.81 percent of the total candidates, also obtained credits and above in a minimum of five subjects including English Language and Mathematics.”