And I thought I was the hammer

I’m all for high education standards (I have been nicknamed “the hammer” by two separate colleagues over the years), but either the University of Liberia needs to rethink their entrance exam or Liberian high schools need to step up to the challenge.

The BBC reports that the university has lessened its overcrowding problem by not admitting a single student for next year’s class.  According to school authorities, all 25,000 students who took the admission exam failed.  The education minister had this to say about the situation:

“I know there are a lot of weaknesses in the schools but for a whole group of people to take exams and every single one of them to fail, I have my doubts about that,” Ms David-Tarpeh said. “It’s like mass murder.”

I agree that something seems fishy. For example, the university said that the applicants “lacked enthusiasm” and good English skills.  How do you test for enthusiasm and why is that part of the exam?  The fact that they paid $25 to take the test seems to indicate that they have enthusiasm for learning and for investing in their future.

On the other hand, I would question the Education Minister’s equating the situation to a “mass murder.”  That seems like a curious (and terrible) analogy anywhere, but especially the political hell that Liberia has undergone in the last couple of decades.

liberia_university

2 thoughts on “And I thought I was the hammer

  1. It could be worse. They could “admit” students for positions that aren’t there in order to pocket their admission fees, and then shrug when the over-crowding gets worse.

  2. It is worse than you think. In the Tanzania (presumably more stable schooling than Liberia) secondary school exams scored on scale of 0 to something (maybe 5) nearly all students got zeros or 1s in nearly all of the compulsory fields. I can see any sufficiently rigorous exam producing no passes for anyone.

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