Internationally acclaimed activist and Executive Director of Youth Action International, Dr. Kimmie Weeks, said he is both shocked and disturbed by recent revelations indicating that 22,000 plus students failed to pass entrance examinations at the University of Liberia.

 

Weeks said the results highlight the dismal state of the Liberian education sector and is a forecast of major problems in the future, if not addressed now.

 

Dr. Weeks said the mass failure in the examinations should not be taken lightly and should be addressed at the highest level of government and civil society.

 

“This is not something that we should just announce and let slip by, this is something that should draw the attention of the entire nation so that we can begin to work on a solid solution to addressing this problem,”  a release quoted him.

 

Weeks  also noted  that it is essential that the President of Liberia convenes a special commission to study the failures and propose real solutions.   “I would encourage the President to form a commission to understand the massive failures, and that their recommendations for addressing this issue receive full government and international funding to ensure that it is implemented,” he indicated.

 

He recognizes the progress the University of Liberia has made but also said that the mass failures in the examination are indications that the nation’s highest institution of learning needs to look into its entrance examination policies and framework.

 

Weeks said he believes that the University of Liberia should make more efforts to ensure that students have the option of several months of coaching and practice based tests before even sitting the entrance.    “I’ve taken standardized tests abroad, and I know that one does not just walk into a test hall; programs and materials are available so students can rigorously prepare in advance of entrance exams and other standardized tests,” he noted.

 

He suggested that the University of Liberia should look into reviewing the content of its entrance exams to ensure that it is in line with materials being taught in Liberian high schools and also that a six month education camp be organized for “underperforming” students before entering college.   “I believe that it should not just be about getting into college, it is also about making sure our young people are well prepared.  There are many things we can look into to address this problem.   We must not allow our young people to be ridiculed for these failures without providing the support mechanisms to help them succeed and improve,” Weeks said.

 

Although his advance education was done in the United States, Kimmie Weeks is a product of the Liberian high school system and he said the Liberian education system can produce students who can compete at the University of Liberia or anywhere else in the world.    He noted that young people simply needed more support, more safety nets, and more opportunities to prepare themselves academically.