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Liberia’s messy education gets high marks

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Education in Liberia has rapidly become a serious mockery with school buildings, both public and private, erected almost everywhere and students or kids in uniforms appearing on school campuses, but the quality of teachers and lessons being taught leave much to be desire despite huge promises by the government to reform the sector.

In the face of the mess, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in her 11th Annual Message to the Liberian Legislature Monday bragged about increment in the number of schools across the country from 5,181in 2013 to 5,571 in 2016, recording a total of 390 new schools regardless of standards, in the last three years.

The President also disclosed an increment in the school enrolment for the same period from 1,500,000 students (800,000 boys and 700,000 girls) to more than 1,579,058 students with 48.5 percent of this latest figure being females.

What she didn’t mention however, is the much heralded Comprehensive Education Reform Program initiated by the Ministry of Education, which she indicated in her 2015 Annual Message, and urged educators, educational institution leaders, eligible concern citizens and partners to have joined in a review and update process.

Liberia’s Education Minister George Werner, who made wide promises after the Ebola crisis in 2014 to equip schools with textbooks, functional science laboratories and libraries as well as train teachers, has publicly said very little, if any, on the level of progress made to rescue the educational system from “mess to best” as he had vowed.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf had previously acknowledged that quality of education has declined even further, evidenced by candidates’ failure in entrance exams to the University of Liberia and in the West African Examination Council or WAEC exams, and argued “The problem of education goes deeper and beyond the lack of qualified teachers, the lack of facilities and supplies, and the lack of incentive.”

By Jonathan Browne

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