The Ministry of Education has commenced discussions with partners in Monrovia, aimed at finding innovative ways of involving the private sector in strengthening the education system.
At the commencement of the dialogue at the Bella Cassa Hotel in Sinkor, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf indicated that the purpose of the dialogue was to generate substantive advice from partners in the private sector, as well as generate their interests … for the partnership.
Mrs. Sirleaf cautioned that a public-private partnership not effectively designed and implemented exposes the government to the lack of value for money, pledging the government’s commitment to continuously working with partners throughout the year to ensure that the proper mechanisms are put in place to avoid such risks.
She recalled that in December of last year, the government launched the public-private policy program – a concept now being taken in the social sector. She emphasized the need to improve service, quality and time in the delivery of service, and reduce cost for parents and then enhance institutional capacity development.
The President extended appreciation to partners for their generous supports, including the USA and National Investment Commission or NIC, in helping Liberia to drive the policy and building “our” capacity to implement public-private partnership.
She said if the public-private partnership should be made successful, the government will be setting the example for commissioning primary. schools for service providers who have modules for improving. Mrs. Sirleaf expressed hope that Liberia’s partners will continue to support this effort as the government broadens the concept within the educational sector.
This, she indicated, will accelerate the government’s progress for achieving the Millennium Development Goals or MDS, adding that today, 1.5 million “of our children” are in school. Earlier speaking, Education Minister George Werner said the ministry was currently conducting a sector-wide analysis to reform the education sector plan.
Minister Warner said the number of enrolment in schools as per his knowledge at present around the country was well over 5,500 – much of which was in the public schools. Minister Werner said over the past years, the Education Ministry assiduously worked to close the enrollment gap between boys and girls, saying there is progress. But in a look at the faculty diversity, he said females and males had very wide gap.
According to Mr. Werner, the ministry has a centralized system that needs to be decentralized in all 15 counties; while at the same time alerting partners that many of the young people lack access to
market-driven and relevant technical and vocational education training.
Also speaking, Vitol Foundation Chief Executive Officer Robin D’Alessandro said the initiative could be a real opportunity for Liberia, and expressed commitment to working with the Ministry of Education in the area of assistance in teacher training programs to improve on quality delivery.
By Winston W. Parley