Shannon May, Bridge Academy’s Chief Strategy Officer (CSO), said the visit of the First Lady of the United States of America, Michelle Obama, to Liberia yesterday is a show of support for girls’ education.
Ms May said the visit of Mrs. Obama is an effort the Liberia government has already begun to bridge the gap in male and female enrollment, “and improve the quality of education for our children.”
The reports for the education sector, according to Bridge Academy release, show that at primary level, there is an estimated 1:1 ratio for boys and girls; but as they go forward in school, the ratio drops substantially becoming 3:1, indicating that for every three males in a class room, there is either one or no female.
“The ratio drops almost to zero as young people proceed through secondary school and to college. These variations send us a message: that as our girls grow up, the barriers they encounter are inhibiting: early marriage, sexual exploitation and abuse within the school, family and community settings, the results of which may be teenage pregnancy, chronic ailments and lack of sanitation at school. All of these (conditions) account for the drop in the male-female enrolment ratio as they move to higher grades in school,” the release said.
Recognizing the enormous challenges facing education, and the inhibiting barriers there are to girls’ education, the Liberian government has moved to initiate Partnership Schools with the aim to bring global expertise to bear on the intractable issues that haunt Liberia’s education system. The government’s aim is to ensure that as Liberia rebuilds and moves towards the attainment of a middle income status in the years ahead, the girls are not left behind, the release noted.
“It is thus incumbent upon us to break the barriers and ensure that as our girls enter school, they do remain in school and become whatever they aspire to. The retention of our girls in school is a national imperative. This responsibility falls on every Liberian, on every parent and on all of us who seek a better
Liberia for our children and generations yet unborn. The better Liberia we seek cannot be better if it will not be a place where we create more Ellen Johnson Sirleafs and more Michelle Obamas,” the release stated.
According to the release, “Bridge Partnership Schools, as a committed and trusted partner of the GOL, and an ardent champion of girls’ education around the world, commemorates Mrs. Obama’s visit with this symbolic event to demonstrate the commitments in our hearts to promote education for all girls in Liberia. Bridge Partnership Schools is part of the national movement to dramatically improve education in Liberia. We are, together with the government and other partners creating powerful public schools, which are trusted and safe places of learning. Our commitment is thus to ensure that every child, irrespective of gender and other backgrounds, can reach their full potentials within the school setting. We are creating schools where our girls can find safety and security as they make themselves for the future, the release said.
“As you join us in this effort, by writing the names of one girl so dear to your heart, you make a commitment today, to stand up for girls’ education everywhere. You will make sure that girl will be a point of contact for all girls within your reach. Together, we break barriers to girls’ education in Liberia and add our voices to First Lady Michelle Obama’s and say #LetGirlsLearn.”