Liberia's education minister says she finds it hard to believe that not a single candidate passed this year's university admission exam. Nearly 25,000 school-leavers failed the test for admission to the University of Liberia, one of two state-run universities. The students lacked enthusiasm and did not have a basic grasp of English, a university official said. Liberia is recovering from a brutal civil war that ended a decade ago.
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, a Nobel peace laureate, recently acknowledged
that the education system was still "in a mess", and much needed to be done to
improve it. Many schools lack basic education material and teachers
are poorly qualified. However, this is the first time that every single student who took the exam
for a fee of $25 (£16) has failed.
It means that the overcrowded university will not have any new first-year
students when it reopens next month for the academic year. Students said the result was unbelievable and their dreams had been
shattered. Education Minister Etmonia David-Tarpeh said that she intended to meet university officials to discuss the failure
rate. "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."
University spokesman Momodu Getaweh said that the university
stood by its decision, and it would not be swayed by "emotion". "In English, the mechanics of the language, they didn't know anything about
it. So the government has to do something," he said. "The war has ended 10 years ago now. We have to put that behind us and become