The Government of Liberia has launched a ten-year strategic plan for the education sector of the country, to harness a collective effort and provide quality education for the country’s population, the majority of which are young people.
To achieve this ambitious plan, which runs from 2018-2028, the MOE (Ministry of Education) has carved out four main focal points; curricular amendments, teacher development, school management and equipped infrastructure—all of which require substantial attention.
These will ensure adequate manpower development in terms of teachers’ preparedness, robust infrastructure improvement and many more.
President George Manneh Weah officially launched the plan at the Booker Washington Institute in Kakata City, Margibi County, where the three-day National Education Summit opened on Monday.
The summit brought together over 300 education specialists, policymakers, parents, business and community leaders, teachers as well as others with interest in seeing Liberia’s education system succeed.
Officially launching the summit, President Weah highlighted the government’s vision for education as a key pillar of the “pro-poor agenda” and outlined his government’s approach to working with stakeholders and experts to give Liberian children quality education.
“Our kids deserve the best and we must provide them that,” Weah, who also lamented his own challenges in obtaining an education, said. “There are people here who got no opportunity and are in search of it to help better their lives. We, as a government, must be in the position to help lift them out of their predicaments.
“We have to be honest to ourselves if we truly want to change and make our country a better place,” he said, describing education as a great engine of personal development.
Education Minister Ansu Dao Sonii in his contribution said, “We plan to revitalize the sector and make it more vibrant. In order to build on previous gains and learn from existing challenges, we have undertaken a wide range of engagements with stakeholders and a nation-wide assessment of schools. This has provided us with first-hand information about the issues affecting education in Liberia today.”
He noted that there is no need to shift blame now because it does not help any situation. “If blames were solutions this country would have had enough to build roads and highways and also undertake other major infrastructure projects,” Minister Sonii noted.
He said that the new government does not necessarily need to undo what its predecessors have done but to build upon them. “We don’t have to reinvent the wheel unnecessarily.”
He noted that Liberians’ idea of education is too narrow and it is, therefore, time to broaden the scope so that it includes all aspect of the growth of the individual.
However, the summit is meant to build on the commitment the new administration has shown, in order to find the right solutions and give all Liberians the start in life that will help them and the country to prosper. “By bringing together a broad range of partners, stakeholders and independent experts in the education sector, we aim to build a consensus on essential priorities to fast-track reform of the education sector,” the Minister noted.
Minister Sonii noted that no nation has accomplished real development without putting in place a purposeful plan to safeguard the process of continuity and sustainability.
He acknowledged some progress in the sector and noted that much more is required to cement an irreversible foundation for human development that is relevant, responsive and timely for nature building. “My primary goal is to create the reason for that irreversibility and make it possible to achieve the seven targets of the SDGs.
“The most persistent challenge to fulfilling these in our timeframe is the dedicated resources in a magnitude greater than the mission,” the Minister noted. “My consolation in part is that the president has chosen education as the second most top priority of his government next to road connectivity.”
The summit is being divided into two sessions. The first two days are meant to provide opportunities for key stakeholders to review the education sector, provide independent perspectives of the status of the sector, and develop consensus around a shared vision for the improvement of the education system in Liberia.
Remarks of commitments were made by several partners, including the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), the World Bank and USAID (United States Aid for International Development).