John is always seen on the internet. Surprisingly, as youthful as he is , he is usually not on Facebook, or other social media. His friend questioned him ” why are you usually on the websites of foreign schools ?”. He replied ” I want to do my masters in a foreign land”. “Oh! You have an undergraduate degree”? His friend asked in a highly enquiring manner. He answered ” yes, I have a Bachelor of Science Degree in Social Work and will like to do my masters in the same field with focus on volunteerism.” Wow! That is great”, his friend intoned.John was intermittently conversing and turning back and forth to his computer while he conversed and browsed. John informed his friend further that he had a problem with many of the foreign schools he had researched. His friends was curious to know what the problem was. He asked rushingly ” what problem do you have with those universities”? John responded and said I will tell you later. Please allow me to get through researching this other school.
I sat quietly in the corner anxiously waiting for John’s response to his friend’s question. After he got through researching, he turn around and said “I am ready to answer your question and register my dissatisfaction with many of these international schools”. He continued ” why don’t these schools exempt students that study in Liberia from sitting the TOEFL or IELTS? These standardized tests are meant for non- native English language speakers. Liberia is an English speaking country wherein the only means of instruction in schools is English. All of our professional work is done in English.Why are we not exempted from these exams?” His friend averred “you are very right, John”. He (John’s friend) further avowed that he had semilar hitch-up with one of his applications to a foreign school.
I sat in my little corner and began to analyze the statements from the guys. I asked myself whether Liberia is an English speaking country? I answered my question in the affirmative that Liberia is indeed an English speaking country. The next question was why Liberia is not being exempted from these exams ? Is it that the Ministry of Education via its Commission on Higher Learning is not doing enough to collaborate with schools and governments abroad to have Liberia exempted from these exams? Or are our English not too good? These were questions flowing through my mind.
From a holistic view point, Liberia speaks English and every professional activity including formal education is done in English. This speaks strongly to level at which the English language is spoken and written in Liberia. This calls for international bodies or institutions and schools responsible to require students to sit such exam, keep in mind that Liberia should be given some exemption. The Liberian Ministry of Education needs to intervene in informing schools around the world that Liberia is an English speaking country and we should be treated as such.