— Says the sector still remains underfunded
The Coalition for Transparency and Accountability in Education (COTAE) through the improving education for democracy project, supported by the Liberia Accountability and Voice Initiative (LAVI), has climaxed a day-long policy dialogue on its ‘More-for-Education Advocacy Campaign.
The event, held on Wednesday, October 21, 2020, was attended by several civil society groups, members of Legislature, donors, students and other education stakeholders working for the improvement of the country’s education sector.
The campaign is being funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID Liberia).
The objective of the policy dialogue was to facilitate learning, sharing, and coordination among education stakeholders and to mobilize stakeholders’ support for alternative and innovation strategies to mobilize additional non- budget resources for education in Liberia.
USAID Civil Society, Media and Conflict Team Lead, Mandy Dagold, who spoke via zoom, said since 2018, her institution has supported the national and county levels advocacy coalition, More-for-Education advocacy coalition, and supporting it to lobby for and with the goal of increasing the national budget allocation to the education sector to a minimum 20% and to encourage the Government of Liberia to fully implement provisions of the 2011 Education Reform Act.
She said USAID’s education programs are designed to help tackle challenges faced in the education sector by improving the quality of teaching and learning, especially in early grade reading and math, and increasing equitable access to learning opportunities for girls and for youth who missed out on education due to the Liberian civil war.
Madam Dagold said USAID is helping to train teachers and management staff and to develop school curricula and policies essential to providing quality basic education services to all Liberians.
According to her, USAID reaffirms its partnership with the Government of Liberia and has aligned its strategy with the government Pro-Poor Agenda, specifically- Pillar 1 that speaks of ‘Power to the People.’
The National Coordinator for COTAE, D. Anderson Miamen, said every Liberian should be concerned when it comes to education because the issue of education borders around national security, development and the wellbeing of the people.
Mr. Miamen said the More-4-Education Coalition comprises seven (7) National Civil Society Organizations with different thematic areas but have a goal of contributing to the education sector despite their different areas of focus.
He said the goal of the More 4 Education Advocacy Campaign is intended to advocate for a minimum 20% of the National Budget to support education by September 2020.
For his part, House of Representative Co-chair on Education, Representative P. Mike Jury said education is the powerhouse of every nation because it is through education that the country can produce responsible citizens and good future leaders.
Representative Jury said from 2018 up to present, the increment in education support has reached 2.1 percent and if the government continues in that path there is a possible hope of reaching the 20percent bench mark for education budget support.
He said the awareness on education should be spreading in all countries and the House Committee on Education will always be willing to work with COTAE in promoting education within the country.
Edwin P. Kaikia, Director for Policy at the Ministry of Education, thanks the convening of the dialogue and pledged the Ministry’s support of additional funding to education that will buttress government own financial activities in terms of support towards Liberia’s education.
He said there is a need despite the global calls for 20% support through the Dakar framework to education and yet Liberia is still lacking behind
The MOE Director for Policy told the participants that Sierra Leone is contributing 27% of their national budget to education, whereas Ghana and Senegal are providing 35% of their national budget towards education.