Delivering transformation at scale is more effective if achieved through the local Ministry of Education. The Liberian Education Advancement Programme (formerly known as Partnership schools for Liberia or PSL) is an impressive illustration of this. LEAP is a programme designed by the Liberian Ministry of Education using eight partners including NGOs and the private sector.
In Liberia, all teachers in the Government programme are government teachers and remain on the government payroll.
In January 2016, the Liberian Ministry of Education announced the launch of Partnership Schools for Liberia (now LEAP) to improve learning in its public schools. The aim was to support teachers to improve and increase learning outcomes in the classroom. As part of this the Ministry made two important policy decisions regarding teachers.
Illiterate teachers would be taken out of the classroom; and,
‘Ghost teachers’ would be removed from the Government payroll.
These Ministry policy decisions were designed to ensure that children were not being taught by those who themselves could not read or write and; that individuals whose death or retirement had not seen them removed from the payroll register were removed so as the Ministry’s finite payroll slots could be filled by teachers who were actually in class teaching.
As part of the programme thousands of Government teachers would be re-trained according to the approaches taken by individual partners in the LEAP-supported schools.
At Bridge, through a new teaching philosophy focused of the ‘big four’ teaching skills and associated teaching techniques, Liberia’s government teachers are returning to the classroom inspired and equipped with new knowledge and skills. Over three years, learning gains have increased significantly; 53% of Bridge LEAP third-grade students are proficient readers and 28% are basic readers, compared to none in either of these categories just two and a half years ago.
Boosting the capacity of teachers
In LEAP, all government teachers have been taught the big four teaching skills so that they can deliver the most effective lessons in the classroom.
This approach prioritises:
Using the teacher guide: enhancing lesson delivery and teacher-pupil interaction;
Checking on every child’s learning: helping those who are struggling with one-to-one guidance;
Responding with feedback that accelerates learning; and,
Motivating children towards good behaviours and academic effort.
All Principals are given additional training to enhance the management of their schools and cultivate a mindset geared towards excellence of both teacher and pupil. Much of the traditional administrative ‘burden’ associated with managing a school is streamlined through the use of technology, giving more time to monitor classrooms and develop good relationships with parents/guardians and the wider community in which they work.
An exemplar of public education transformation in Africa
The LEAP programme is enabling the government to improve learning outcomes quickly and at scale using existing government teachers and headteachers. We’re very proud of the learning gains taking place in Liberian schools. We’re excited to watch LEAP grow into an exemplar of public education transformation in Africa.
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