-for failure to make 20% budgetary allotment for education, says YOCEL
Liberia stands to lose a whopping US$20.3 million matching grant every year from the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) grant, formerly the Education for All Fast Track Initiative, because of the country’s failure to allocate 20% of its budget to the educational sector.
The Youth Coalition in Liberia (YOCEL), an implementing partner to the Liberia Accountability and Voice Initiative (LAVI) revealed that the country’s grant was drastically reduced by 51.2% for failing in its commitment to increase the country’s education budget to 20% of the total Fiscal Budget in the last five years.
YOCEL’s project manager, Matthew S. Karley, II, told journalists and LAVI’s partners over the weekend during a one-day media stakeout that the grant would be rotated to the previous grant of US$40 million if Liberia’s fiscal budget for education is at least 20%. Currently, the Liberian government’s support to the education sector is around 13 percent.
“We have approached the Ministry of Education, and have begun the engagement for the increment of the education budget to at least 20% of the total national budget,” Karley said.
Karley said in 2014, in Dakar, Senegal, African countries including Liberia committed to targeting 20% of their fiscal budget to go towards education and was sealed in 2015 at the World Education Forum in the Republic of Korea. YOCEL is supported by LAVI through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
The Liberian government has, however, received only US$11.07 million to cover a four year period (2018-2021). This amount was disbursed in December 2017 as part of the GPE-funded “Liberia Getting to Best in Education,” a four-year initiative aimed at improving equitable access to early childhood education, and the quality of teaching in early childhood and primary education, he noted.
“The US$11.07 million grant is also intended to support the government’s efforts to strengthen accountability in the education sector and improve the quality of learning,” Karley said.
The specific objectives of the grant are to: (a) improve equitable access to early childhood education, teacher quality in early childhood education (ECE), and primary education in targeted disadvantaged counties, and (b) strengthen National School Accountability Systems.
From 2010 – 2016, Liberia benefited from a US$40 million GPE grant to finance 453 new classrooms at the primary school level. It will also provide 100,000 books to pupils and 21,500 sets of teacher guides. A school health component will finance the development of learning materials, the training of about 3,000 teachers and de-worming about 300,000 students at the primary level.