The Executive Director of the Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL), Thomas Doe Nah has stressed that Liberia requires a revolution in its education sector in order for students to come on par with their peers in the region and beyond.
Speaking on behalf of Civil Society Organizations (CSO) operating in the country at the launch of the Ministry of Education (MOE) Three-year Operational Plan (2014-2016), Mr. Nah said revolutionizing the education sector is crucial to improving the human resource capacity of Liberia.
The CENTAL boss said the “Messy Education sector” needs a quick and thorough fix. He was speaking in reference to a statement made by President that the education sector was a “mess”.
“From this point we are all called to arms for a revolution in education,” he said. From this perspective, Mr. Nah said it requires Liberians becoming more creative in dealing with the challenges facing the nation.”
He emphasized that CSOs do not believe that the burden to begin the revolution and strengthen the education system rest only on the shoulder of the Ministry of Education, but needs a proactive approach to be carried-out by all Liberians and partners.
He called on government to provide the requisite financial support that will lead to the effective implantation of the operational plan, calling specifically on the Ministry of Education to turn a new chapter in implementing the plan.
Mr. Nah expressed that civil society organizations as partners, are delighted that the Education Ministry has become more proactive in stepping up its consultation with partners, noting that the education operational plan represents a pivotal step in the country’s new education revolution.
“We call for robust monitoring and evaluation system, and zero tolerance to corruption and other vices that undermine quality education. I can be a trusted partner in this revolution that we are calling for, but the trustworthiness of the partnership in this process will, at times, come up with critical reports, which will be evidence based and sincere,” he noted.
Also speaking at the occasion, Senate Committee Chairperson on Education, Rivercess County Senator Dallas Gueh called on politicians to depoliticize subsidies that are provided to the education sector.
“This area has to be owned and operated by the Ministry of Education and not the National Legislature,” Senator Gueh acknowledged.
He said based on classification by the Education Act, authorities of the Ministry of Education should determine which school receives certain kind of subsidy and not the Legislature.
“As chairman on Education, we are going to do everything possible to make sure that this particular function is carried out by the Ministry of Education and not the Legislature, and we will do everything to discourage interference by the Legislature,” Senator Gueh promised.
The occasion took place at the Monrovia City Hall in Monrovia where President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf served as the launcher.
The occasion was also attended by scores of government officials, development partners and members of the Diplomatic Corps.
It can be recalled that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf at a cabinet retreat in 2012 termed the education sector as a “Complete Mess”. This statement manifested itself last year when over 20,000 high school graduates, who sat the University of Liberia Entrance Exam all allegedly, failed.
The MOE three-year Operational Plan is based on several documents including the Education Reform Law of 2011, Education Sector Plan (2010 -2020), Roadmap for System Transformation, National Agenda for Transformation (AfT) among others.
It highlights priorities identified by education stakeholders during several consultative meetings including the National Education Roundtable Conference and the Joint Education Sector Review. It serves as a catalyst to accelerate the “Education for All Goals”.
It is underpinned by the principles of ownership and accountability. The plan proposes a range of strategies and activities for improving the quality of education services to ensure that young people within the borders of Liberia are fully prepared for a favorable livelihood in a changing environment.
The cost of implementing the Three-year Operational Plan is approximately US$180 million; whereas projection for year one is estimated at US$58.7 million.
Out of this amount, US$3million is available while the funding gap is US$55million. The plan shall be financed through the Government of Liberia’s Annual National Budget and Donor contributions.