The West African Examination Council Liberia Office head, Dale Gbotoe, has expressed a heavy heart over the sinking of a recently capsized vessel transporting nine of their workers for the distribution of the 3rd and 9th-grade tests in other parts of the country.
Over the weekend, the Liberia Maritime Authority disclosed that at least 15 passengers went missing and 11 rescued from a sinking boat in Liberian coastal waters; an incident the nine staffers who were carrying WAEC materials were part of.
Maritime Commissioner, Lenn Eugene Nagbe, in a news conference in Monrovia said the vessel, while on its way to Harper, about six nautical miles off the coast of Marshall City reportedly started to take in water.
The situation is believed to have led to the swift postponement of the tests; the national exams which were expected to have been administered on Monday, July 19, 2021.
But speaking Monday in an exclusive interview with this media institution via telephone, Mr. Gbotoe termed as difficult for WAEC to go ahead with the administration of the test amidst the situation of their staffers; an incident which led to some test materials being unaccounted for.
The WAEC boss further noted that students in the south-eastern parts of the country would have missed the national exam if it were administered, adding that the incident led to the unpreparedness of other staffers.
He also said the Liberia Head Office of WAEC is not sure about the new date of the postponed test while they focus on the well-being of the staffers, adding that his office is in close consultation with their families.
“What we did today, we started the process with engagement the families. We invited them to the office and good number of them showed up; we are now going to start updating them on a regular basis as we get information but this time we will be inviting them to the office, we will be going to them and give them whatever that we have.” Mr. Gbotoe averred.
Mr. Gbotoe also disclosed that one of the nine victims from the unfortunate incident has recovered and returned to his family and national duties, stressing that their hearts will still remain out to the ones who are yet to be found.
At the same time, the WAEC boss described as regrettable the immediate postponement of the test for Liberia students across the country, adding that it was not a calculated attempt for the test to be postponed.
Mr. Gbotoe is also calling on Liberians across the country to join in prayer with WAEC Liberia Office for the remaining eight people, including other Liberians who were involved in the situation to be found alive.