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Aug 27, 2013 10:21 AM EDT

Nearly 25,000 Students fail University of Liberia's Admission Exam

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For the first time in its 150-year history, University of Liberia achieved a unique record of not admitting even a single student for this academic year. Nearly 25,000 high school candidates failed the University's $25 admission exam because they lacked basic understanding of English.

As a result, University of Liberia, one of two state-run universities, will not be welcoming any freshmen for the next academic year.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the university's President and a Nobel peace laureate, said that the country's education system was 'in a mess' following a violent civil war that ended a decade ago. Sirleaf believes that there is still a lot of work that needs to be done to restore proper education in the country.  

Etmonia David-Tarpeh, Education Minister, will be meeting with the university officials to discuss the 100 percent failure rate. David-Tarpeh said that the results are unbelievable.

"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," David-Tarpeh said. "It's like mass murder."

Momodu Getaweh, University spokesman said that the university will not alter its decision of not grating admission to a single school-leaver.

"In English, the mechanics of the language, they didn't know anything about it. So the government has to do something," Getaweh said. "The war has ended 10 years ago now. We have to put that behind us and become realistic."

Previously, admissions were granted based on bribery and influence.

James Dorbor Jallah who was employed by the university to oversee this year's entrance examination said that the exam was based on the syllabus of the Ministry of Education and the faculty of the university this year decided that the 'results would be reported on the basis of raw scores.'

"To gain a pass and admission, one would have to make or earn 60 percent in mathematics and 70 percent in English of their raw scores, not curved or scaled results. So on the basis of that, we administered the exam. We went through the tabulation of the results, and it turned out that 308 of the more than 23,000 candidates actually did meet the threshold score in mathematics of 50 percent or above. But absolutely no one was able to reach the threshold score in English of 70 percent. That is why the university has reported that no one passed its admission exam," Dorbor Jallah said.

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