[ View the story "Liberia's failing grade" on Storify] Liberia's failing grade After years of civil war, how can the country rebuild its crippling education system?
The Stream· Mon, Oct 07 2013 11:12:55
As classes begin at the University of Liberia, the freshman class is smaller than usual. Of the 25,000 high school students who took the university's entrance exam this year, not a single one
from President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who called Liberia's education system "a mess", UL allowed 1,600 candidates who scored at least 40 per cent in Math and 50 per cent in English to enter on probation for remedial courses.
The story of the failure made international news and quickly went
Is a big shame to Liberia education for publishing such a result to worldwidefacebook.com
The news came to surprise many Liberians both at home and in the diaspora, such as activist
total shock to read today that 25,000 students failed the University of Liberia entrance exam with not a single student earning the minimum 70% needed to pass. We must really focus our attention and resources on preparing the next generation and finding ways to mitigate the shortfall of our youth.facebook.com
Others were not surprised that the latest UL exam failure was evidence of Liberia's broken education system.
@sarankjones Surely on such scale not really about students but systemic failure! Can't afford to be pedantic pragmatic steps requiredOlu Latunbosun
@sarankjones not surprising at all. This shows that the country have so much more work to do.MG
Many online agreed that educational reform is needed, but how exactly?
Some netizens blamed the failures on the federal government, both President Sirleaf and Minister of Education Etmonia David-Tarpeh.
This mass failure represents the most concrete evidence that Ellen Sirleaf herself is a failure. Having been asleep at the wheel for the past 6/7 years doing absolutely nothing about the children of Liberia, she wakes up now only to declare that the country's educational system is "a mess".frontpageafricaonline.com
Perhaps our esteemed Minister has not seen the mushrooming of sub- standard schools on every street corner, the poverty and unimaginable conditions our young kids go through both in and out of school, the ill prepared graduates who become teachers overnight.frontpageafricaonline.com
@AJStream the problem is as a result of a "failure of leadership". More accountability will help a lotInnocent Okoro
@AJStream government should invest more in education....Enape friday
Others blamed the Liberian government's bureaucracy. While President Sirleaf's administration has made primary education free and compulsory, only 60 per cent of children
grade 6. Often, teachers and students in rural areas suffer most. Teachers in outlying counties sometimes have to
up to two weeks to obtain their paycheck from the county seat, leaving their classroom empty during that time.
I think its time now for the goverment of liberia and each of the 15 counties to have it own ministry of edcation own headquater instead of people running in monrovia to go for their pay check or other things in monrovia . each counties should have it own health department, education and other headquater in their counties capitalfrontpageafricaonline.com
@AJStream The country's education sector ishampered by inadequate schools and supplies,as well as a lack of qualified teachersEnape friday
@AJStream The government will have to pay teachers adequetly.Busani Moyo
Many online cited bribery as a problem rife throughout the educational system, from primary schools to institutions of higher education.
It is not a secret to Minister Tarpeh that students, beginning from the primarylevel, all the way up to university, pay money to teachers to pass. Teachers,at the same time, demand money from students for better grades. There is no need for Minister Tarpeh towonder about mass failure when she knows that many of the teachers in thesemushrooming schools are unqualified and teaching what they feel they know.facebook.com
Liberia will never produce qualified graduates from any university unless this issue of bribery is minimized or gotten rid of.frontpageafricaonline.com
@AJStream invest materially, physically, spiritually, financially, and with zeal to change the culture of corruption #Liberia #NigeriaSa'lasi
Still, others placed the blame on students.
the students themselves must have the passion to learn.you can take a donkey to the waterside but u cant force it to drink.facebook.com
I hope Minister Tarpehwould go to the schools to see students with earphones in their ears, listeningto music on their cell phones. Wouldshe be pleased to discover that the students are able to name players of BarcelonaSoccer Team when they cannot name the three states of Matter?facebook.com
Many saw the systemic failure as a lingering effect of the
, which ravaged the country from 1989 to 2003. The fourteen years of war damaged many primary and secondary schools, and caused at least two generations to miss out on education. According to
, sub-Saharan African states are the furthest from reaching its Education for All goals.
Actually,the real truth of the mass failure in the UL's entrance examination, is the heavy social price the youth and the country are now paying as a result of 15 years of senseless war initiated by the very people who now run the country. How do we expect young people who were deprived of their right to be educated when conditions of war didnot permit them to learn in an enviroment of peace, now be expected to achieve excellent performance.frontpageafricaonline.com
@AJStream Education is often the first causality of a war. Truth has found a new medium in social media to carry it forward.Syed Aabid Shafi
@AJStream conflict ensures that children lose interest in #education #Liberia #AJStreamCarmady
But today’s young Liberians are just as bright as any of us who attended schools in Liberia before the war. That has not changed. Many of us have been able to succeed in high education because of a solid foundation from Liberian schools. I always maintain that I may have a higher degree from abroad but I was educated in Liberia.frontpageafricaonline.com
What has changed since then are the conditions among which these young people learn. Growing up we had books, electricity, and most of the time, went to school well fed. These days just getting to class in Liberia is an exercise in endurance and patience.frontpageafricaonline.com
a conference on education to address the country's challenges. However, many netizens expressed frustration with only talk, but little action.
Roundtable discussions are all well and good but what is needed are dedicated stakeholders and community leaders who can come together and work with our young people to create a sustainable and nurturing learning environment. Also, once these roundtables meetings are announced, we hear nothing of the planning or attendees until after the meeting.frontpageafricaonline.com
The Ministry of Information
a press conference on Google+, inviting Liberians to tweet in their questions. Only
3 per cent
of Liberians have internet access.
Ministry of Information Live Press Conferencemicatliberia
A few Liberians wrote in questions.
The issues with the mass failure on the UL entrance is the responsibility of 1) the Government; past ant present, 2) the Ministry of Education, 34)the University of Liberia, the Schools Administrators, the parents and lastly the students themselves .plus.google.com
What is national gov't doing to improve education in the rural area? Becuz this is where the real challenge is. @MicatLiberiaJay Redd Nagbe, Jr.
An improved learning environment couple with trained man power in our education sector will help develop our students @MicatLiberiaJay Redd Nagbe, Jr.
Most of the ministry's
quoted the officials at the conference.
Min. Brown: This is a big disappointment to the Government of the Republic of Liberia that 25000 fail the entrance. 100% failure is bad newsMICAT Liberia
Dep. Min. Isaac Jackson: we must take these things very seriously cause we cannot allow Liberia to be a country of semi-literate peopleMICAT Liberia
Officials stated UL must enact a new policy fighting corruption and nepotism.
Dr. Gataweh: Corruption in the sch system is complicated. Many times teachers don't ask students but the students themselves give moneyMICAT Liberia
Dr. Gataweh: We are fighting corruption at the UL...when we even imagine lecturers taking money from students we intervene.MICAT Liberia
Min. Brown: Liberia is a different society now, one is graded by what he/she knows and not by who your parents are. Students note thisMICAT Liberia
Also, they cited both students and limited capacity as causes for disarray.
Mr. Adolphus Jacobs: Our students are not dull but we haven't provided the right environment for them to improve themselves and developMICAT Liberia
Dr.Gataweh:When we took over the University following several yrs of war we met strange students who were war students.We had to manage themMICAT Liberia
Dr. Gataweh: The sys is filled with many challenges at the University of Lib. Teachers have limited Capacity, students don't want to learnMICAT Liberia