According to reports, each of the 25,000 applicants who took the entrance exam for the University of Liberia failed. In fact there was not a single student who scored above a 50 percent on the exam. The requirements to pass are 50 percent on the mathematics section of the exam and 70 percent on the English section. This information has since been confirmed by the British Broadcasting Company.
Although the West African country has been in a peaceful state for the past decade, many say that the education system still has not recovered from their lengthy civil war. A big part of this is due to professionals, such as teachers, fleeing the country during the time of unrest. Now there are several rumors floating around. Some believe that the exams were doctored because the university does not have the capacity to accept new students. Lee Walkie, a senior at the University of Liberia, said, “Last year, seven thousand people passed the entrance exam and they were only able to admit about half that number. They don’t have the capacity to admit more people.” The university has responded claiming that the 2013 admission standards have changed substantially from the previous year. They have also hired a private contractor to oversee testing and grading in order to ensure that there was no cheating or partiality in the testing process.
Amidst all of the conspiracy theories, the University of Liberia has announced that they will be adjusting the acceptance requirements so that a portion of the test takers would be admitted. In total the university plans on admitting 1,626 undergraduate candidates, but now the skepticism has turned from the university admissions to the educational system as a whole. This event has proven that Liberia’s education system clearly has not met the new standards held by the university, which illustrates the weaknesses in the Liberian school system. Could there be ‘dirty play’ involved in the exam scandal, or is it possible that the higher education system simply set too high of a standard for its students?