The Inquirer (Monrovia)

Liberia: MOE, UNICEF Sign 6.5 Million Agreement for Education in Liberia

The Ministry of Education signed its2013 Annual Work Plan with UNICEF on Friday 25 January 2013 for US 6.5 million towards increasing access to quality education and improved learning environment for girls and boys in Liberia. During the signing ceremony, Education Minister Etmonia David- Tarpeh signed on behalf of the Liberian Government while Ms. Isabel Crowley signed for UNICEF Liberia.

The Education programme component will support the Ministry of Education in responding to disparities in rural and urban areas. At national level, advocacy and policy dialogue for strengthening the national Strategic Roadmap for National Healing, Peacebuilding and Reconciliation where Education is one of the key strategic areas for changes in addition to the implementation of the new Education Act will be the major focus.

Speaking during the signing ceremony, the Minister of Education highlighted the United Nation's contribution to the education sector of Liberia. "This is a manifestation of UNICEF and the UN family's commitment to supporting the education sector of Liberia, said Minister Tarpeh. " This is a boost to our education program especially with focus on girl's and early childhood education. We must once more commend UNICEF for this support as we look forward to more areas of cooperation in our partnership."

At school, district, and county levels, the roll-out of the child-friendly school approach will be the entry point for building capacity in planning, management, supervision and monitoring. Within this work plan, Child-friendly schools will be facilitated by collaboration between the health, nutrition, child protection, communication for development and WASH sectors in selected disadvantaged areas.

This 2013 work plan will take a life-cycle approach. It will use early childhood development as a foundation for addressing access and quality in pre-primary and basic education. Early Childhood Development will be piloted and scaled up in selected counties, taking into account strategies developed with support of the Global Partnership for Education. History and Social Sciences subjects will be reviewed to address major Liberian conflict drivers and the findings incorporated in the national curriculum by 2015. In addition, the programme will support initiatives to review and update contingency plans for emergency and for the development of an Emergency Preparedness Response Programme (EPRP).

"We look forward to working more closely with the Ministry of Education to ensure that their work plan for 2013 is fully implemented," said Ms Isabel Crowley, UNICEF Resident Representative for Liberia. "UNICEF has a five year country programme which runs from 2013 to 2017, and this is a part of our programme which focuses on education, health, protection and advocacy. Through this agreement, we look forward to increasing access to quality education in disadvantaged communities, especially for the girl child.

The programme will promote innovation and technological initiatives for children living in remote areas, with the goal of reducing migration pressure. It will attend to specific needs of those with disabilities and those at risk of dropping out. The programme will develop learning approaches that will incorporate life skills for out-of-school children, appropriate to age, circumstances, and local context.

In this Education agreement for 2013, the current total budget is US 6,562,352 out of which US 1,422,552 is geared towards school construction. US$ 1,434,600 of the overall amount is from the Education Pool Fund. The Peace Building, Education, and Advocacy Programme being supported by the Government of Netherlands is US 2,250,000.

In 2013, Moe UNICEF Education programme will continue with a "Peacebuilding" spirit and principle and work will be framed by three key approaches: Equity, Convergence, and life cycle. A baseline and a monitoring, evaluation and reporting system will be developed to provide qualitative and quantitative measurable indicators and evidences of quality learning and learners performance.

Strategies in this work plan will prepare younger children to re-enter formal school and help older children to link into pre-vocational training in line with the goals of Vision 2030 and the President's commitment during her inaugural address to the nation upon her re-election to "give young people the skills they need to prosper and create the life they choose."

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