Weah Says Government Committed US$200,000 to WASSCE Fees

MONROVIA, Montserrado – With barely two days to the deadline to register for the West African Senior School Certificate Exams, President George Weah has announced that his government will pay the fees for all students across the country.

During the 2017 elections, the Coalition for Democratic Change made eliminating the WASSCE fees a part of its campaign promise. In fact, the party’s campaign manifesto explicitly says it will absorb the fees for all students taking the exams.

The initial deadline set for the payment was January 15 but in a recent announcement, the West African Examinations Council, in consultation with the Ministry of Education, extended the deadline for registration to January 30 to give time to the students due to the difficult financial and economic situation in the country.

“I made a promise that my government will absorb the WAEC fees for all 12th graders and I remain committed to that promise,” Weah said in his first state of the nation address on Monday.

Weah said this CDC government has already started to disburse the students’ fees, adding “an initial amount of US$200,000 has been committed.”

In an effort to meet the deadline, several school principals across the have deposited payments made by their students in the WAEC account.

Quoting the late South African president Nelson Mandela, Weah said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

He maintained that the improvement of country’s education system is and shall remain a constant and major priority during his administration.

“We shall focus on reviews and revision of our education system, improve health and sanitation, promote and strengthen gender equality, and provide for youth re-orientation and empowerment through training of all kinds, the creation of jobs, and the expansion of sports,” Weah emphasized.

Each 12th grade student is required to pay US$60 or its Liberian dollar equivalent but some schools have been asking their students to pay US$70 to process their WASSCE registration, claiming that it is due to the lack of banks and internet connectivity in some rural areas of the country.

The Ministry of Education issued a press release on Tuesday, January 30 directing schools to “immediately register their students through WAEC’s online portal.” The release promised that WAEC would refund schools that had already paid for their students “once the Government of Liberia fulfills its remaining financial obligation to WAEC.”

Prior to and after the 2017 presidential and legislative elections, hundreds of students from various schools around Monrovia thronged to the headquarters of the Coalition for Democratic Change requesting Weah to pay their WASSCE fees.

The exams will be administered beginning in April 2018 in all 15 counties.

Featured photo by Zeze Ballah

Zeze Ballah

Zeze made his journalism debut as a high school reporter at the LAMCO Area School System. In 2016 and 2017, the Press Union of Liberia awarded Zeze with the Photojournalist of the Year award. Zeze was also the union's 2017 Health Reporter of the Year. He is a Health Journalism Fellow with Internews.

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