ALHAJI ALHASAN ABDULAI
Something strange has happened in the Republic of Liberia that must engage the attention of all parents, school authorities and politicians in Ghana and nations across Africa. For all students to fail an entry exam to university is unbelievably strange. But that is what the world is made to believe.
The story as monitored from BBC say nearly 25,000 school-leavers failed the test for admission to the University of Liberia, one of two state-run universities in that nation.
A university student told the BBC that the students lacked enthusiasm and did not have a basic grasp of English.
For a nation as Liberia that is recovering from a brutal civil war that ended a decade ago this story is not a ‘laughing matter’. The inability of this nation to train the required manpower will definitely affect the nation’s growth and development.
The University spokesman Momodu Getaweh told BBC Focus on Africa that the university would stand by its decision, and would not be swayed by “emotions”. This means that there is nothing the university can do to reverse this situation.
“The spokesman said the students didn’t know anything about the mechanics of English language. So the government has to do something about it,”
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, a Nobel peace laureate, recently acknowledged that the education system in Liberia was still in a “in a mess” because the schools lacked Basic education materials and teachers are poorly trained.
Surprisingly this is the first time that every single student who wrote the exam for a fee of $25 (£16) in Liberia has failed.
It means that the overcrowded university in-question will not have any new first-year students when it reopens next month for the academic year.
While the Liberian Ministry of Education considers the situation as strange and calls for a probe, we need to consider a few points given as reasons for the unfortunate situation in Liberia.
Is it true that the poor knowledge of English Language by the students and lack of educational facilities are to blame for the mass failure?
If the above reasons are things to go by, then the students and parents in Liberia and some nations of Africa must sit up. For, a careful study has shown that a sizeable number of students in African nations especially those in former English colonies don’t take the study of the English language very serious.
Instead of speaking the queen’s English that they are taught in schools in Ghana and other nations they take delight in speaking Pidgin English in and outside school campuses. They do brush aside all advice given them by their parents on the danger of speaking Pidgin English. They better listen to wise counsel from all those who are concerned about their future. If not they might be ‘digging their graves’.
With the attitude of the students and the lack of materials such as good books Liberia’s education system is not the only one likely to be in a “mess”. There are fears that education systems in other parts of African can fall in the same category if we fail to take the right measures. The time to do something about this unfortunate situation is now.
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