From BBC: University spokesman Momodu Getaweh told Focus on Africa that the university stood by its decision, and it would not be swayed by "emotion".
"In English, the mechanics of the language, they didn't know anything about it. So the government has to do something," he said.
"The war has ended 10 years ago now. We have to put that behind us and become realistic."
The school apparently was a bit embarrassed and changed their minds, admitting 1,626 after all, as the story below shows, and also the BBC followup.
Ms (President of Liberia) Sirleaf did not say why the university, based in the capital Monrovia, had agreed to admit 1,800 students after discussions with her.
What happened? I can't quite tell from the test numbers: 50% score in English and 40% in Math seems pretty low, but that's because I'm used to normalized tests. (Usually: Quantitative Chemistry back at SIU had passing set at 40%: it was the flunk-out course for chemistry students, and quite rough.)
I think the 100% failure was due to two effects: one explicit and one that I'm just guessing at. They say they were trying to increase admissions standards. So they based the thresholds on the test averages from the previous year: 49% English and 33% Math. (i.e. 70% and 50% respectively). That should have cut the pool down by about a factor of 20, using WAG numbers for the standard deviation (10). But it cut it down to 0. And when they used 50% English (=last year's average) OR 40% Math (about last year's average), they only got 1600 passing--it should have been closer to 12,000 if students this year were like students last year.
My guess is that somebody took a little extra care about security of the exams this year, and a lot of students weren't able to cheat as usual. I can't prove that, but it seems likely.
HEADLINE: UL TO CONSIDER ONLY 1,626 CANDIDATES DATE: 22 AUGUST 2013 SOURCE: All Africa (c) 2013 AllAfricaAug 22, 2013 (The Inquirer) -- The University of Liberia (UL)
says it will enroll 1,626 candidates who took the university's
entrance barely a day following reports that all 25,000
candidates who sat the test failed massively.
However, at a news conference yesterday, the head of the UL Relations, Dr. S. Momolu Getaweh said the UL Senate reviewed several other scenarios below the benchmarks and thereupon recommended for admission 1,626 candidates who scored either at least 40% in Math or 50% in English in the Undergraduate Programs.
He also disclosed that those to be admitted include 25 for the College of General Studies (Continuing Education), 93 in the six (6) graduate programs, thirty seven (37) for the Law School and 24 for the School of Pharmacy for Academic 2013/2014.
Dr. Getaweh giving the official result of the recent UL Entrance Examinations which were administered in June and July 2013 said the results indicate that no candidate out-rightly earned the scores of 50% in Math and 70% in English previously set by the Faculty Senate of the University as the passing scores for the Undergraduate Examinations.
Dr. Getaweh said, "Similarly, no candidate who sat for the Graduate Programs, Law School and School of Pharmacy Exams earned the score of 70% also set by the UL Senate as passing."
The UL Relations head said holding these results constant, no candidate would have otherwise been admitted to the University for Academic 2013/2014 in the above programs.
However, he noted that in the case of the A. M Dogliotti College of Medicine, where the score of 70% is passing, 47 candidates made 70% and above.
Dr. Getaweh said in view of the above, the Faculty Senate of UL met in two separate and special sessions on Wednesday, August 14 and Tuesday, August 20, 2013, respectively, to deliberate on the outcome of the examinations, and as a result of the two meetings
and several hours of discussions, the UL Senate reviewed several other scenarios below the benchmarks.
He also disclosed that the recommendations of the Faculty Senate have been endorsed by the University as presented with the recommendations that candidates in the Undergraduate division will be required to take two transitional courses one in Mathematics and the other in English. He said both courses will be administered for six hours a week without academic credit.
Dr. Getaweh said, "Candidates admitted in this category will also be permitted to take an additional three (3) credit hour course which shall be determined by their respective Colleges. However, the total hours of academic work for the first semester of
2013/2014 shall not exceed 9 hours a week. The students MUST pass the transitional courses within two semesters, if they wish to continue at the University."
He also said upon admission to the University, the rules governing poor academic performance shall apply and these rules shall be provided the candidates during the matriculation exercises following registration for first semester 2013/2014.
Dr. Getaweh also said the final decision for admission to the Graduate Programs, Law School, School of Pharmacy and Medical School shall be made following the fulfillment of other criteria set out by the Admission Committees of the respective programs and colleges as indicated.
He disclosed that the names of the candidates in all programs will be published shortly in the UL Campus Review Newsletter.
Last academic year 2012/2013, the University of Liberia admitted nearly 7,500 candidates in the Undergraduate Programs because the criteria used for those admissions were quite different from this year. The average scores of 49% and 33% for English and Mathematics respectively were used as the basis for passing.
The university commended all those who participated in administering this year's Entrance Examinations and extended sincere apology to the candidates, parents and the general public
for any inconveniences they may have experienced during the administration of these examinations.