Liberia mapLiberia is a country in West Africa of 3.7 million people on 43,000 sq. miles, bordered by Sierra Leone to its west, Guinea to its north and Côte d’Ivoire to its east.

It is the only country in Africa founded by United States colonization while occupied by native Africans. Beginning in 1820, the region was colonized by blacks from the United States, most of whom were freed slaves who established a new country with the help of the American Colonization Society, a private organization whose leaders thought former slaves would have greater opportunity in Africa. In 1847, this new country became the Republic of Liberia, establishing a government modeled on that of the United States and naming its capital city Monrovia after James Monroe, the 5th president of the United States and a prominent supporter of the colonization.

The colonists and their descendants, known as Americo-Liberians, ruled Liberia as a dominant minority from the country’s founding until 1980 when they were overthrown by a military coup. The coup marked the beginning of political and economic instability and two successive civil wars that resulted in economic devastation and the deaths of a quarter of a million people. A peace agreement in 2003 led to democratic elections in 2005. Today, Liberia is recovering from the lingering effects of the civil wars and economic upheaval, but about 85% of the population continue to live below the international poverty line.

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Jess Denham reports for the UK’s Independent, Aug. 27, 2013, that the University of Liberia is facing a new school year with no first-year class.

That’s because every single one of the nearly 25,000 students who had applied for one of two state-run universities flunked the entrance exam, to the surprise of the country’s education minister Etmonia David-Tarpeh, who described the widespread failure as “like mass murder.”

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. University spokesman Momodu Getaweh says a lack of enthusiasm and a basic grasp of English are behind the shocking entrance exam failure statistic.

I admire the University of Liberia for their honesty.

If this had happened in the school system of Atlanta, Georgia — where 80% (or 44 out of 56) of the public schools were found to have cheated on tests for the past 10 years — every single student would have passed the exam. LOL


Dr. Eowyn is the Editor of Fellowship of the Minds and a regular contributor to The D.C. Clothesline.