A youth group dubbed Youth Advisory on Education (YAGE) and comprising of seven professional activists has ended a Round Table Dialogue aimed at soliciting the views of young people on ways Liberia can revive its educational system.
The dialogue was conducted across three of the 15 counties, namely; Montserrado, Grand Cape Mount and Grand Bassa from July 11, 12 and 13, 2018 respectively.
The exercise, which brought together over 100 young people from a cross-section of the society, was climaxed with a resolution highlighting vigorous strategies for effective transformation.
The project, which is funded by USAID (United Sates Agency for International Development) through Liberia Accountability and Voice Initiative (LAVI) with support from the American People, is part of the ongoing More4Education Project.
Key among the resolution developed were issues surrounding youth-related components in the 2011 Education Reform Act that includes Chapter 9.1 A and D, focusing on Financing Education and Student Loan Program.
Chapter 9.1 A of the 2011 Education Reform Act states that, “In addition to the recurrent government budgetary appropriation for education, all concession agreements for investment in the extractive mineral and other non-renewable resource sector as well as in the agriculture sector and in major privatization contracts, shall require that 60 percent of any signature fees realized shall be allocated to the education budget.”
It also states that the terms and conditions of all such agreements and contracts shall include a negotiated fixed annual amount as social responsibility fee for education which, when paid, shall be made available as transfer and/or subsidy to the annual cost of education.
While 9.1 D states that, “A National Student Loan Program is hereby established to be funded through government budgetary appropriations and private donations and contributions, which the minister shall promulgate guidelines and regulations to govern the administration of the program.”
Other youth-related articles highlighted include Chapters 8 and 4, which placed key emphasis on the National Service program (Education Day) and Technical Vocational Education.
The young people during the different discussions argued that if these basic areas are prioritized, it will help pave a way to the country’s educational reform process for quality education.
They want a robust Student Loan program to aid high school and college dropouts, while they challenged the CDC-led government to ensure the full implementation of Education Financing in accordance with Chapter nine of the 2011 Education Reform Act.
The young people also emphasized the need for youths to get involved with monitoring and evaluation of academic activities.
YAGE is a youth advisory platform established by Youth Coalition for Education in Liberia (YOCEL), to provide strategic support and advice to advocacy campaigns and facilitate national, regional and international advocates and discuss ways to improve the Liberian education sector.
Meanwhile, the resolution developed has been presented to YOCEL for onward submission to authorities of the Ministry of Education (MoE), to guide them in making the education system the best.