The county coordinator for the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection in Nimba, Madam Yah Belleh Suah, is urging girls to make education their first priority in life.
She says with the resumption of schools across the country, girls should compete with their male counterparts in class to achieving their education, instead of contemplating on social life.
Speaking recently in Sanniquellie, Nimba County, Madam Belleh indicated that while the current living condition is difficult due to the Ebola outbreak, girls should not be deterred, but take courage and remained focused on their lessons or studies.
She named lack of parental care, teenage pregnancy, and peer pressure as some factors or challenges affecting girls’ education in Liberia.
The Gender Coordinator further observed that over the past years, some parents heavily support their girls children in traditional schools or Sende society, but are not excited about their academic activities.
She described the education activities of young girls as disheartening and frustrating in Liberia, and called on parents to invest in Girls’ education.
In her Annual Message to the Liberian Legislature in January, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf described education as a number one priority in the development of Liberia.
She disclosed that statistics for 2013 show that there were 5,181 schools across the country (3074 public and 2107 private), with a total of enrollment of 1,500,000 students (800,000 boys and 700,000 girls). “We have thus succeeded in the achievement of quantity goals by increased enrollment, but quality of education has declined even further, evidenced by the failure in the entrance exam to the University of Liberia and in the WAEC exams which have been set at a substandard level for Liberia.”
The President said the problem of education goes deeper and beyond the lack of qualified teachers, facilities and supplies, and the lack of incentive.
“The vastness of the challenge and the implication to our overall development effort,” she added, “compel all of us to come together to formulate bold strategic action to fix it. This is a must for the future of the country and for the education of girls, who do not go beyond middle school and are at risk of exploitation.”
President Sirleaf said to solve this problem, a program is underway in the next fiscal year that will offer financial support to all girls willing to remain in school until the completion of high school.
“We call upon all educators, educational institution leaders, eligible concern citizens and partners to join us in a review and update of the Comprehensive Education Reform Program which is underway by the Ministry of Education”, the Liberian leader urged.
By Allen Paye Lablah, Sanniquelle