As UK students prepare for university in September, the University of Liberia faces a new term with no first years turning up to class.
Not one of the nearly 25,000 students applying for one of two state-run universities has passed the entrance exam, to the surprise of the country's education minister.
Etmonia David-Tarpeh, who described the widespread failure as “like mass murder”, plans to meet with university officials after school-leavers paid a fee of $25 each to take the test, only to see their dreams dashed.
Speaking to the BBC Focus on Africa programme, she said: “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. I’d really like to see the results of the students.”
A bloody civil war that ended a decade ago has left the education system in tatters, with many schools deprived of the simplest education resources and in dire need of qualified teachers. But a lack of enthusiasm and a basic grasp of English are behind the latest shocking statistic, a university spokesperson has said.
Defending the university’s decision, spokesman Momodu Getaweh confirmed that it would not be changing its stance, arguing that the government must put the war behind them and act fast on students’ complete ignorance of the “mechanics” of English.