The head of the opposition All Liberian Party (ALP), Benoni Urey, has reacted strongly to the government of Liberia’s strategy to outsource primary education by calling the public private partnership (PPP) deal “a waste.”
Partnership schools for Liberia is a US$65 million 5-year deal that was launched in the early part of this year after the Liberian government established a relationship with Bridge International Academies, a foreign company popular for using android mobile phones to conduct lessons in the classroom.
According to Mr. Urey, the public private partnership (PPP) means nothing good for Liberia at this time, as many teachers and students lack proper and advanced training in technology.
“Most of our children are still sitting on bare floors, no good libraries, laboratories and most of the teachers lack proper training to deal with (the) hard copies of learning materials,” Urey said.
He said the education system needs lots of improvement, that although it is described as “a mess,” that description can be changed to “the best” if the proper planning is implemented.
Urey said the UP-led government has no plans to improve the education system; and as such, people should stop hoping on what he called “the impossible” from the education sector.
“There will be a difference with us as we have people the likes of Dr. Edmond Butler in the US and Dr. Coleman in Liberia, both of whom are already working on an education plan that would take effect under the ALP government by January 2018.
“We will critically and radically look at the entire education system with appropriate measures to graduate from the condition of so much reliance on donor support,” Urey assured.
Commenting on the high unemployment rate among college graduates, Urey said the ALP government – who plans to declare corruption a state crime – will provide employment opportunities for everyone through substantial programs, including but not limited to agro-based investments.
With Liberia’s education trajectory currently focused on educating children and other young people, Urey said that under the ALP a substantial amount of time would be dedicated towards andragogy (that is, methods used to provide literacy to adults) so that the amount of literate people in Liberia would continue to grow.
He meanwhile said the huge salaries and allowances which lawmakers, ministers and many other government officials are being paid, which amount to 75 percent of the country’s budget, could be reduced “to improve the broken systems,” which include education and health.
After George K. Werner was appointed Minister of Education in 2015, he made a commitment to take the education system from “mess to best.” The strategy on how he hoped to achieve his goal was never tested through any public vetting process.
Recently, he signed an MOU with Bridge International Academies after travelling to Uganda and Kenya, where Bridge has been operating its techno-related education programs for a couple of years now, and negotiated for the entity to come to Liberia and take over the nation’s primary education.