(L-R) Bridge Liberia M.D. Gbovadeh Gbilia, LEAP Coordinator Abraham Dagher, U-Movement, Street Child, & Rising Academics representatives
MONROVIA – The Ministry of Education, the regulator of all school activities in the country, invited various education stakeholders to review activities in the education sector which will inform a strategic plan that will govern and manage the sector for the next 5 years.
The Joint Sector Education Plan (JSER) is closely watched by foreign multilateral and donors who use it to determine the government’s priorities in the year ahead; and allocate funding accordingly.
The Education Sector Analysis which is done every five years is intended to review challenges and progress in the sector while informing authorities and stakeholders about where the gaps are, strengthening partnerships and identifying new opportunities. After a presentation of findings were given by UNESCO and IIEP, the Ministry of Education immediately launched the Education Sector Plan (ESP) and asked various sector specialists to support in the development of this essential document. The ESP is expected to be completed in August 2022.
Government education partners like those in the Liberia Education Advancement Program (LEAP), which is now in its sixth year, is amongst the key programs forming part of the sector review and plan development process.
The LEAP Program is a public-private partnership that delivers 100 percent tuition-free primary education across all 15 counties in Liberia from early childhood education through grade six.
The LEAP Program was designed to improve school management and accountability, enhance teachers and school administrators ability to deliver quality learning outcomes and optimize delivery models that the Ministry of Education can apply throughout all of Liberia’s public schools.
Recently, H.E. President George Weah reported in his 2022 fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) reaffirming his commitment to education and highlighting that:
“Under the 2022 National Budget, we intend to increase spending in education so that all the interventions we are making can lead to us transforming the sector from mess to best.”
The Education Sector Review follows the Government’s expansion of the LEAP program at the end of 2021; which allotted additional 179 schools to Bridge Liberia. This coincided with a large-scale teacher training initiative by Bridge Liberia supported by the Ministry of Education and the Chairs of the House and Senate committees. The social enterprise collaborated with the Ministry of Education to train teachers with special focus on teaching principles, techniques, and technological skills that a contemporary teacher needs for the effective delivery of learning materials in the classroom.
In his SONA, the President spoke about the role of teachers in developing the country’s prospects.
“For Liberia to develop, we must develop the minds of our youths. We must train our teachers so that they themselves will be able to train the minds of our youths. curriculum training was provided to 1,250 teachers and caregivers who have since returned to their places of assignment in Sinoe, Maryland, Grand Kru, Rivercess, River Gee & Bomi.
LEAP is one of the Government’s core programs to support and train teachers. Government teachers in the Bridge Liberia supported schools are highly trained and well resourced when compared to their counterparts from other government schools. They are expected to teach using techniques and technology that has been carefully designed to improve learning for students.
One specific skill is the use of technology. All teachers in the Bridge Liberia program use technology as a teaching tool which is used for lesson planning, tracking of attendance, following performance to assess data of classroom activity. It makes classrooms transparent and in all the nooks and corners of the country, it can be seen what activity is taking place.
These continuous efforts toward enhancing the education system of Liberia supports the president’s vision of providing quality education to the country’s youthful population.
As the President further stated in his SONA:
“Providing quality education to our future leaders has remained a paramount priority of my Administration. I am pleased to report that we have made great strides in improving literacy and other learning outcomes in the educational sector, with milestone achievements in the areas of Access, Quality and System Transformation”.
Currently there are four partners in the LEAP with Bridge Liberia the largest partner, supporting over 70% of schools.
The Education Ministry-led Education Sector Analysis and Education Sector Plan is an opportunity for LEAP and its partners; to actively contribute to the ambitions the government has for its education system. The ESA is organized by the Ministry of Education in collaboration with UNESCO and the IIEP.