By Mohammed Salue Sy
The University Of Liberia as the nation’s premier institution of learning has come under grave public’s questioning in most recent time as she officially released her 2015/2016 entrance and placement results. For so long graduates of high schools profoundly express their anxiety to seek admission at the University Of Liberia even though there are other tertiary institutions that provide similar education. Unfortunately ,thousands of those students anxiety and hope are dashed in the wilderness. But what remains easily unanswered despite their denial to matriculate at the University of Liberia is that those students still have firm determination to consistently write the entrance as many times as possible opting for a successful pass one day.
The question continues to linger on critical minds of people as to what are those principal factors responsible for that. Prevalent views have proven that lack of adequate and decent capacity to absorb students is a major factor.
Nevertheless, are there potential remedies for such academic malady that clouds the system? Retrospectively, the University Of Liberia has set an indelible record in history so far as evident of the infamous 2013 entrance and placement results that never yielded any successful candidate out of the twenty five thousand candidates .Besides, it was the worst result that drew the entire educational system of Liberia as a huge mess thus buttressing Madam Sir leaf’s Statement. Education is the key bedrock upon which the growth and development of any nation can be projected. It serves as a litmus test for economic growth and economic development, an antidote for political chaos and an imminent tool for national reconciliation and least to mention it as a beacon of hope for the hopeless .The relentless trend of the state-run University is creating an environment where bulk of the people are no longer courageous enough to fall prey to the dictum that education is the key to poverty.
Henceforth, it is no ambiguity that the absence of education is an extreme bane for a nation. The society of ours in modern day is so gullible though not as compared to past years. Establishing these germane points as a pathway can enable me to fully make a running commentary on the topic: ”And So, Is the Usual Case with University of Liberia”
Historically, the University Of Liberia origin can be traced to the then Liberia College in 1862. At which the institution was operated as the College of Liberal and Fine Arts. Eighty Nine years later, it became known as the University Of Liberia through an act of national Legislature on February 15, 1951. In appendage, its mission statement is teaching, Research and community service. Not divorcing its vision which describes it as an independent institution of academic excellence that thrives for truth and knowledge .To what extent are these characteristics surely and wholly a reflection of the institution.
Fast forward to the seven year administration of Dr. Emmet Dennis which is seriously attached to the issue of students’ enrollment has been a beam light and central focuses for elements of the intelligentsia. Since the ascendency of Dr. Emmet Dennis into office on March 23, 2009 as the thirteenth president, enrollment for students have been tedious as it shows no discrepancy in past years. Even though, Dr. Dennis has made some tremendous efforts to place the University at a top notch yet there are more challenges.
The University Of Liberia at Spotlight: Emphasis on Entrances
Considering these three academic school years 2013, 2014 and 2016, there are fundamental discourse to be initiated. The University of Liberia 2013’s entrance and placement examinations are so replete with adjectives, flaws and stories. This entrance was administered under the watchful eyes of Mr. Dorbor Jallah, now the boss of the Public Procurement and Concession Commission. Accordingly, no candidate made a successful pass out of the twenty five thousand candidates. But having the University of Liberia strongly been dragged in the media, authorities then, the Faculty staff and Senate were compelled to set the bench mark of forty percent for candidate enrollment. Pathetically, successful candidates of that entrance were made to matriculate for a single semester during remedial in mathematics 107 and English 101.
Despite of said condition levied on those eight thousand candidates, over four hundred plus candidates were dropped on grounds of forfeiting the bench mark set by the University.
Irrespective of the so-called mass failure of candidates writing UL’s entrance, students have never become pessimistic. Accordingly, the University of Liberia’s 2014 campus news outlet shows a total number of thirteen thousand candidates sitting the entrance. But a total of fifteen candidates made a successful pass. This draws a vivid analogy that the results of these two entrances were not favorable. The question then comes about as to who’s responsible? Taking into much consideration of these two successive entrances, the University of Liberia remains exceptionally fascinating amidst its impediment towards students. This brings me to a juncture of this literary work to expand on this year’s entrance and placement examinations.
So much has been said about the official pronouncement of this year’s results .To what extent have these discourses gained a net effect on us is another issue to examine. Barely fortnight ago upon the imminent hearing of the results through wild rumors, I had been receiving tons of calls from colleagues of mine and students that I tutored. Those colleagues and students always hinted to me about their ambitions of becoming professional doctors, seasoned lawyers, honest journalists, practical economists etc.But the case turns the other way around as the results turn out to be far above their optimism. Their anxiety for an enrollment at UL was so high that it turns out to be a comatose. Frankly and honestly holding the conversation with them, the official results were pronounced as only one thousand seven hundred and seventy eight candidates were successful. But should such an official results of a kind not be contended is another point that needs to be analyzed.
Hundreds of candidates trooped their way to main Campus to take up challenge with them. Fortunately and shockingly candidates were charged ten United States dollars. There is a core point that we need to have at the back of the mind surrounding the challenge. Almost all those candidates who took up challenge with the Testing and evaluation were successful. It connotes that there is a hidden motive behind this just ended exams. The University Of Liberia must be taken to be for “Money making” neither to amass “quick wealth” hustle ground nor center to exploit economically challenged Liberian students. Another point of focus that seeks to taint UL’s image to public disrepute is her gross incompetence to professionally administer an entrance and be unique with her result. And so, if candidates in numbers can take challenge with UL’s tests these days, it also connotes that those previous results were also not genuine. There were bulk of red lines and flaws that can be singled out. Is it another crafty and cunning method that has been designed to generate revenues? The indication is that UL had more than one thousand seven hundred and seventy eight candidates but because of their heinous plan to exploit those poor students they refuse to indicate all those successful candidates.
Hearing the Unheard. UL now Charges Fees for Admission
Matriculating students at the state-run University is not only contend with registration fees but currently posed with payment for admission fees something of new beginning. Candidates seeking admission at the UL previously never paid a dime for “Admission Letter”. But now “Admission Letter” is a commodity. Administrators at this University seem to be taking UL as a plantation for fast money making center to constantly visit America. The University Of Liberia is exploitatively charging LD$1,500 for admission letter .Than what more qualities that distinguish her from the United Methodist University that does not charge a penny? Than what makes her more masses driven than the African Methodist Episcopal University, than what more places her above Stella Maris, the African Methodist Episcopal Zion University in terms of affordability?
The University Of Liberia needs to go far beyond this exploitative way of collecting money at the detriment of struggling students. The University of Liberia is on a day to day basis becoming an epicenter where administrators are turning out to get “rich overnight”, an epicenter where “profiteering” is on the increase, “Corruption” becoming a new way of survival.
Harboring no doubt that Liberian students cannot do well in public exams is a blatant lie and complete absurdity. Liberian students are not dull but if stakeholders in the educational sector are reluctant to address issues of the” Messy System” Students too will have no option. Public exams are wrongly and willfully accepted as a yardstick to measure the outputs of students. But students are now becoming conscious enough to expose the secret that those stakeholders of the system are the ones painting an ugly image of the broken system. And so, is the case with the University Of Liberia. And finally, I write.
Author's Statement: The author of this work is a graduate of the B.W. Harris Episcopal School and the Young Political Leadership School of Naymote. Mr. Sy is currently a student of economics at the University of Liberia. Besides, he is a staunch member of the Indomitable Student Integration Movement (SIM) and the Union of Conscious Africans.