By Paul P. Mulbah
(UL Mass Communication Student)
The Kids Education Engagement Project (KEEP) has launched a campaign to promote accountability in Liberia’s education sector. The project, which was launched recently in Monrovia, is aimed at ensuring better learning outcomes for children across the country.
KEEP is one of many civil society organizations in Liberia that is currently working with schools in three counties: Grand Gedeh, Gbarpolu and Montserrado, in a bid to ensure greater accountability and transparency in the country.
Making remarks at the official launch of the project, the coordinator of the organization, Aloysius Taylor, explained that the project focuses on people he called ‘duty bearers’ who are found in the education and private sectors that he said should be accountable to school going children when it comes to their academic performance.
Taylor said it was based on that premise that the organization decided to train at least 150 women, out of which 75 have already been deployed, to carry out monitoring and evaluation exercises at various institutions, in both the physical and instructional areas, in project counties.
According to him, at the end of the exercise the organization is expected to receive a comprehensive report from the women on the field. He also stated that in the project counties the reports are made and analyzed, from which they then target the many educational problems that affect the children’s learning process.
He mentioned that the women that have been deployed are from the Women Action Group. “These women are currently working in Grand Gedeh, Gbarpolu and Montserrado,” he added, revealing that one of the key issues that needs to be addressed in Liberia’s education sector is the effect of the environment on the kids’ learning. He said for this to improve, the attitudes of leaders and administrators, the availability of instructional materials and their proper usage – which are being monitored by the women – must improve.
Meanwhile, the project is being sponsored by OSIWA (Open Society Initiative for West Africa), with plans to extend it across the country. “The Kids Education Engagement Project has been running for four months now, and is expected to run for a year,” he added.
Taylor said the children also take part in what he called Student Integrity Clubs – which have been established in the targeted schools in the rural areas – that will in the end result in a new breed of students void of all corrupt practices.
He recalled that during the Ebola outbreak when schools were closed across the country, the organization thought it prudent to conduct a number of surveys to keep the students’ learning process alive.
Following the survey, the organization noticed that there were many children of school going age in Liberia that were not in school, “The organization decided to incorporate those children in the program.”