Liberia’s Commitment to Transform its Education System Resonates at UNGA 77
World leaders have once again gathered in New York for the 77th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), where Liberia’s President, George M. Weah, joined his counterparts to discuss and find solutions to various issues affecting their territories.
Csaba Korosi, President of the UNGA 77, alongside Ambassador Dang Hoang Giang, Permanent Representative of Vietnam to the UN, jointly chaired the opening of the assembly under the theme, "A watershed moment: transformative solutions to interlocking challenges."
In the opening session, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for the launch of a "Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) stimulus" led by the G20 to massively boost sustainable development in developing countries.
With the growing evidence that the 2030 SDG-4 goal-the provision of quality education for all by 2030-will not be met, considering the unprecedented scale of the learning crisis and an increasing public acknowledgement by leaders, this sounds more like a wakeup call for more deliberate actions to change the narrative for school-going children in developing countries.
At the just ended UN Transforming Education Summit, education stakeholders deliberated on solutions to end learning poverty on a global scale.
The UN Secretary General at the summit encouraged governments to work with private sector partners to boost digital learning content. In his words, "We will not end this crisis by simply doing more of the same, faster or better. Now is the time to transform education systems. "
Transitioning an education system from analogue to digital requires the collective efforts of governments and partners in the private sector to harness technology as part of efforts to transform education.
In Liberia, the government has already begun taking practical actions. The Liberian government took deliberate action in 2016 and opened up the education sector for partnership with the private sector under the Partnership Schools for Liberia (PSL), now known as the Liberia Education Advancement Program (LEAP).
This multi-year program, now in its sixth year, is designed to improve teaching and learning, which many countries are not fortunate to have, considering the deepening crisis in education.
The largest partner in the government’s LEAP Program, Bridge Liberia, is already supporting teachers and students in public primary schools in specific ways mentioned in action tracks identified by the Transforming Education Summit.
Crucial to delivering on the call by the UN Secretary General for transformed education systems are key thematic areas identified at the UNGA Transforming Education Summit, most of which Bridge Liberia and the Ministry of Education’s LEAP programme are already delivering.
Bridge Liberia, the government's largest partner in the LEAP Program, already places a focus on digital learning and transformation, inclusivity and equity, teachers, training, and the teaching profession.
The use of technology at schools supported by the social enterprise is changing how students learn, empowering teachers and other school leaders to deliver lessons in a timely, coherent, and guided manner.
Its inclusive and equity-driven principles have made girls make the same leap in learning as boys in schools, according to the latest study done on education by Nobel Prize winner Prof. Michael Kremer.
Teachers, teaching and teaching profession-Bridge Liberia focuses on teacher training and leverages technology to empower teachers and improve children’s learning outcomes through intensive training, ongoing support, scientifically-based digital teacher guides, positive classroom management techniques, and real-time monitoring of lessons.
These interventions by Bridge Liberia and the Liberian government showed not only that this can be done, quickly, efficiently, and at scale, but that it is the basis for huge improvements in educational outcomes, which have provided resilience in the face of national and global crises.
President George Weah’s continuous recommitment to strengthening the country’s education system gives hope to children in public schools that are depending on organizations like Bridge Liberia’s intervention that is ensuring they receive world-class learning experiences like students in other territories supported by NewGlobe. “For Liberia to develop, we must develop the minds of our youth. We must train our teachers so that they themselves will be able to train the minds of our youths", says Weah.