As soon as we agreed on the fatality of Ebola Virus Disease, one of the first noticeable actions by the Government of Liberia was the closure of the education system. Sadly, this decision to close schools led to a big decline in school standards and eroded some of the pre-Ebola gains which includes but not limited to increasing school enrollment but saddled with dilapidated buildings, poor teaching tools and learning materials.
Majority of our technical and in some instances, management and financial degrees are not considered employable, according to the Human Development Index (HDI) 2014 which measures key dimensions of being knowledgeable and having a decent standard of living, as well as years of schooling for adults, Liberia is ranked 175 and the trends since 1980 is not encouraging. The primary school dropout rate is at 32.23 percent and there is no information available for cross enrolment ratio for pre-primary and tertiary education.
Our education system consistently struggles to achieve the scale and impact that could sustain the next generation beyond the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals for education. The condition of students in our schools are unbearable and we need to fix the structure, facilities, equipment and tools so as to catch-up with the digital age of technology.
So where do we begin? Messengers of Peace (MOP)-Liberia can begin by expanding and strengthening its peace clubs programme by brining young people to peace building and consolidation initiatives. Foundations, other Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) Governments and new corporate social responsibility (CSR) as well as wealthy individual donors all have roles to play in ensuring the rights of children and youth to education.
While we do not advocate for donor dependency, we believe in the added value of globalization in our rights to education.
Conflict resolution, the right to quality education and increased coverage in education demand in-depth knowledge of the complex dynamics at the level of early childhood education to the provision of tertiary education both within and outside the country.
Young people can no longer remain just recipients and beneficiaries of education but advocates and contributors to education. We believe in the involvement of young people in the provision of functional education. The same principles should apply in the development of curriculum and educational tools that are relevant to our culture and level of development.
MOP-Liberia is pleased to see the involvement of young people in research activities and their recommendations for the inclusion of civil education to the nation’s education curriculum for school children.
The Ebola epidemic has brutally exposed the weakness of our healthcare system as well as the limitations of our rights to healthcare and it would be in our best interest to benefit from the lessons learned. We need to educate our children through the stories and information we provide them.
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Until next week when we come to you with another article on: “Ebola Educates-The Right to Social Services,” Peace First, Peace above all else, May Peace prevail on earth.