By: Kruah Thompson
The Ministry of Education (MOE) has identified seven counties with a significant female dropout rate at senior secondary level, based on education statistics.
The coordinator and technical leader at the Ministry of Education Abraham Kiazulu, names Gbarpolu, Grand Cape Mount, Bomi, Grand Bassa, Sinoe, Grand Kru, and Rivercess, as counties with alarming rates of female dropouts.
Speaking at the Ministry of Information regular briefing on Thursday, June 15, 2023, Mr. Kiazulu said the Ministry has taken steps to address this issue.
He said government has decided to offer scholarships to encourage girls to stay in school, noting “The scholarship program aims to support all students, irrespective of their academic performance or background. As long as a student decides to be in school, they will be eligible for a scholarship worth up to US$325 per year. This scholarship will cover expenses such as uniforms and stipends.”
Besides, Mr. Kiazolu said the Ministry also plans to train female counselors, who will provide guidance to girls in public high schools across the country.
He said a team from the Ministry of Education conducted an assessment of the education system in counties and it was observed that secondary education in Liberia has lacked sufficient support for several decades.
As a result, he revealed that the team developed a comprehensive package to enhance secondary education outcomes across the country.
According to him, the package encompasses improving access through infrastructural development, implementing education interventions, and enhancing the quality of education.
He emphasized that the program aims to not only address access but also improve teachers’ capabilities and provide relevant teaching and learning materials for the 21st-century job market and industry.
He added that the Ministry aims to equip Liberian students with digital skills before they complete secondary education, saying “We also plan to enhance the capacity of education stakeholders to make informed, data-driven decisions and policies that positively impact students’ lives.”
As part of the infrastructure component, he notes that the Ministry has committed to constructing three new high schools in counties with overcrowded senior secondary classrooms, except for Montserrat County. The selected counties are Bong (Gbarnga), Nimba (Ganta), and Margibi (Kakata). Each high school will contain 15 classrooms and necessary facilities.
“The Ministry is currently finalizing the foundation work and will soon commence the construction of the first structures in all three counties. Additionally, we recognize the need to address areas without senior high schools. To tackle this, we plan to convert 35 junior high schools into senior high schools in eight districts that currently lack public senior high schools. The counties benefitting from this project are Gbarpolu, Grand Bassa, Margibi, Rivercess, Sinoe, Grand Kru, Maryland, and Montserrado.” He noted.
Meanwhile, Mr. Kiazulu emphasized the importance of conducting a diagnosis before providing solutions, likening it to a doctor’s approach hence, the Ministry intends to diagnose challenges within the education system and implement targeted solutions to improve the country’s overall educational landscape. Editing by Jonathan Browne