29 January 2013

Liberia's Education Needs Dire Reform

Photo: Liberia Govt
President Sirleaf addresses students at Columbia University

Liberia's post-war education program is said to be faced with various challenges, including decline in quality primarily necessitated by lack of trained instructors and facilities.

Reporting to the 53rd Liberian Legislature on Monday, 28 January 2013in joint session at the Capitol on the state of the nation in 2012, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf said despite high enrollment in schools across the county, the quality of instructions and students leaves much to be desire.

The President said Liberia's 1.5 million student population needs serious attention in order to be on par with their colleagues both in the region and other parts of the world.

She said of the over 11,000 enrolled in secondary schools, female students constitute 48 percent, but retention or remaining in school continues to pose a challenge due to poverty and other socio-economic difficulties.

President Sirleaf has suggested the need to revert to boarding school system to reduce distractions faced by students in order to make them concentrate on their studies.

She specifically named few private institutions currently operating boarding schools, including Risk's Institute in Brwerville, Bromely Mission on the Bomi highway, Konola Academy in Margibi, and an all-females school in Gbarlatuah, Bong County, respectively.

The President however said that of the over 25,000 secondary school students that wrote the annual exams administered by the West African Examination Council in 2012, over 70 percent made a successful pass, which she noted, was a significant improvement that needs to be sustained.

She said some 36 secondary schools across the country are expected to write an advanced stage of the regional exams as a pilot program that would replace the current WAEC exams.

Despite government's free compulsory primary education program, coupled with increased budgetary allotments, the education sector is faced with series of challenges, among them inadequate trained teachers.

Several hundred teachers in dozens of schools in Nimba County were recently dismissed by the Ministry of Education after they failed to present requisite academic credentials.

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