Showcasing Liberian education reform

The Liberian Ministry of Education held a one-day event on the 20th February to enable providers to showcase the initial impact that Partnership Schools for Liberia (PSL) was having in Liberian communities.

Bridge was excited to be at the event and talk to government officials and stakeholders about the teachers, parents and pupils that they are serving in Liberian communities

President Sirleaf, who has named the education sector as one of the most significant challenges her government has faced since she was elected, opened the event by talking about the state of the Liberian education sector when she took office. Speaking to a packed room, the President said: “When this government started in 2006, we recognized that education was a number one priority, and we had to do something about our children who had been out of school for a couple of decades – most of them child soldiers.”

Reflecting on the limited resources of the country to tackle education reform in a long term way, the President stressed that there was a need for external support to aid her government in revamping the education sector.

“Something was practically lacking – the quality of education,” Sirleaf said. “We needed to do something about this, and this is what came about – Partnership Schools.”

The Liberian Ministry of Education took on the challenge outlining that the schools involved within the initiative would remain “within the public sector, owned, financed, regulated and quality assured by the government, with support from external donors, and free to all students.”

The Liberian government made clear at the outset that “ultimately, if the data is compelling, PSL will serve as a cornerstone of education policy going forward, focusing on providing inclusive, quality education; improving the management of schools; increasing training for teachers, and fully implementing the Liberian National Curriculum, all while ensuring needed improvements to infrastructure are addressed, and that teachers and students are equipped with the materials they need to succeed.”

At the event, Justin Sandefur of the Center for Global Development, gave a brief overview of the work expected of his team who are responsible for the evaluation of PSL due in August 2018, before adding, “We have seen some gains, and there are significant improvements already – all dramatic.”