The National Education Coalition of Liberia (NECOL) with support from OXFAM, on Wednesday, October 30, 2019, began a three-day general assembly in Monrovia to share understanding that will inform broad-based and locally-driven civil society participation that is crucial to delivering national and international education goals.
The assembly, which is held under the theme, “Setting the Stage and Charting the Roadmap for Education for All: Together we can Achieve It,” will run to Friday, November 1, 2019.
The three days assembly brought together a little over 100 participants from the National Teacher Association of Liberia (NTAL), youth and marginalized groups, parents organizations, associations and education workers, human rights advocates, student organizations, the media, as well as local NGOs and INGOs.
NECOL acting chairman, Moses B. Jackson, said the assembly is organized to formally introduce, and present the institution; articulate its vision, mission, as an amalgamation of skills, advocates, and talents committed to the improvement of education in Liberia; position and authenticate its leadership, and solidify its links and relationships with local and international development partners and education stakeholders.
Jackson told the participants that as they have gathered to say “yes” to advocacy and implement projects geared towards the improvement of education. There may face challenges both globally and locally, he said, but as they leave the assembly on Friday, they should be enlightened and empowered in their roles as NECOL members, partners or collaborators ready to start and implement Education For All (EFA) activities.
He said in 2015, when the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) changed into the Sustainable Development Goals agenda (SDGs), a number of targets were identified as guideposts for the implementation of diverse and sundry tasks confronting the global community.
“Fortunately,” Mr. Jackson said, “the SDGs’ agenda contains 17 goals, including a new global education goal (SDG-4) to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education, and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all, as a policy implementation strategy point. SDG #4 has seven targets and three means of implementation focused on physical, financial and human resources.”
Jackson said the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS), in its 2017 year-end education report, recorded that about 262 million children and youth are out of school, a situation he said included 64 million children of primary school ages, 61 million of lower secondary school ages, and 138 million of upper secondary ages.
He said instead of governments committing more resources and energy to clean the the country’s education system in budgetary allotment, “the authorities have minimum, and unrealistic budget for regular education management. As a result, teachers do not focus their attention on teaching; and students do not likewise learn.”
He said all peoples of the world must receive an education with the same quality, regardless of their conditions, gender or statuses.
Jackson added that since Liberia was founded in 1847, education of its total population has always claimed center stage.
OXFAM Regional Finance and Grants Manager of Africa, Lawrence Akubori, underscored the importance of doing more advocacy for education, “because the result will not be felt immediately, but to bear fruits after 15-20 years.”
Akubori said that education helps an individual to become a responsible citizen, and bring positive impact and development to a nation.
NECOL was established with the objective to hold the government and donors accountable for their commitments, and to ensure relevance and equity within the education sector. Its partners are Global Campaign for Education, Francefa Education for All, etc.