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Liberia Postpones West African Exams

The Liberian ministry of education has postponed this year’s West African Examination Council (WAEC) exams. The exams are given each year to sixth, ninth, and 12 graders in five English-speaking West African countries – Gambia, Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. But according to the Liberian ministry of education, this year’s exams, which were printed in Nigeria, were characterized by massive fraud. The leakage has brought into question the credibility of WAEC and the overall security of the regional exams.

Joseph Korto is Liberia’s minister of education. He told VOA the students will have to retake the exams, and that an investigation is underway.

“What happened is that we got reports and then a quick investigation proved that the exam was leaked massively. We got this report at a time when the 12th grade exams had just concluded. So when it was proven that the exams were already out in the streets, we decided to cancel the one that had been administered, and a new exam will be developed and re-administered to all three-grade levels, and that will take place during June,” he said.

Korto said WAEC is responsible for the production and distribution of the exams, and that although an investigation is underway, preliminary investigation into the leakage points to the WAEC office in Monrovia.

“This year’s exam was printed in Nigeria, and we are told by the WAEC office in Monrovia that they were transported in the plane, ceiled and brought to the country. It was in the country that the boxes were opened. The investigation is in its preliminary stage so we cannot say with certainty whether the leak may have happened outside the country or inside the country. But I must say that the possibility that the leak happened here in Liberia is high,” Korto said.

Citing other education experts from around Africa, Korto said exam leakage is a common occurrence worldwide and in Africa. But he said the Liberian government will take steps to prevent such massive leakage in the future.

“This is the first time in Liberia that we have this type of leakage even though there had been some irregularities in the past. The investigation is ongoing, and we plan to get to the bottom of this, and as soon as we get all of the evidence and what took place, we will put into place measures to avoid the recurrence of such leakage,” he said.

Korto said students will not be allowed to graduate unless they take the rescheduled WAEC exam.

“The students will be required to retake the exam, and about a month later, the results will be made available, and students and the schools that want to carry out graduation ceremonies, may feel free to do so. But no student will receive a certificate sanctioning them as high school graduates they take the WAEC exam,” Korto said.

Korto said the Liberian ministry of education had to postpone the exam because according to him, once an exam is leaked as, the reliability and integrity has been compromised.