Free, Compulsory Education Law Sails Through House

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Members of the House of Representatives voting for the passage of the Free and Compulsory Early Childhood Education Law

– Forwarded to Senate for concurrence

The House of Representatives has passed a law to provide free education for children between the ages of three and five. The exercise is to promote government’s effort in guaranteeing children their right to quality elementary education irrespective of economic status, social class, ethnicity, religious and political affiliation. The approved law is an amendment to the Education Reform Act of 2011 to change provisions 4.4.1(a) to include a sub-section entitled: “Free and Compulsory Early Childhood Education.”

Members of the House of Representatives unanimously approved the law on Thursday, July 20, during the 50th day sitting, and forwarded it to the Senate for concurrence. The House passed the law following recommendations from the Joint Committee on Education, Ways, Means, Finance and Development Planning, and Judiciary. “This level of education, which is intended to provide the necessary opportunities to develop the appropriate skills in a child starting from nursery to kindergarten, shall be free and compulsory for all children attending public schools in the country,” the Committee said in their letter.

It added: “Ensuring a free and compulsory education for Liberian children in public school is a better way to promote the effort of the government in guaranteeing children their right to quality elementary education.”

In the letter, the committee argued that the emotional, social, and physical development of young children has a direct effect on their overall development and on the adult they will become. It also said there is a need to consider free and compulsory early childhood education for Liberian children in public school whose parents do not have the resources to invest in their children’s education so as to maximize their future. “The Republic shall, because of the vital role assigned to the individual citizen under this Constitution for the social, economic, and political well-being, provide equal access to educational opportunities and facilities for all citizens to the extent of available resources. Emphasis shall be placed on the mass education of the Liberian people…,” the Committee noted in accordance with Chapter 2, Article 6 of the Liberian Constitution.

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