Monrovia — The More for Education Coalition Partners, a conglomerate of civil society organizations, has raised serious concerns about the approved budget for the education sector for fiscal year 2019\2020.
There has been a 1% increment to the budget. This means the budget moves from 13.7 percent in 2017/2018 to 14.7 in the following year.
The Coalition's members are the Coalition for Transparency and Accountability in Education (COATOE), the National Parents and Teachers Association of Liberia (NAPTANOL), Youth Coalition for Education in Liberia (YOCEL), Inclusive Development Initiative (IDI) and the National Teachers Association of Liberia (NTAL).
The project is being implemented by USAID LAVI with support from USAID.
"Given that the national budget for this fiscal year 2019/20 has suffered an 8% decrease from US$570.14 million in FY 2018/19 to US$525; the percentage increment for education to 15.8% leaves a lot to be desired as it translates into US$83.4million, a US$1.9 million decline when compared to the US$85.3million allocation for FY 2018/2019. Taken on a regional scale, Liberia's funding to education lags far behind regional neighbors," said Anderson Miamen, while reading a press statement on behalf of the More for Education Coalition Partners.
The group of CSOs is pushing for at least a 20 percent budgetary increment for the educational sector as compare to other countries in the region.
This will make Liberia to meet up specific benchmarks and policies of international partners and donors which allows more funding, the group said.
"A research conducted by COTAE in 2018 found that Sierra Leone allocated 27% to education, while Ghana and Senegal invested 35% of their budget to education. This leaves us to wonder why Liberia is failing to invest considerably in education while others are investing in building a vibrant education sector. Can Liberia really brag about the future belonging to young people when we are not investing in their education? A lot more has to be done if education must reach desirable heights. Government has to muster the political will to achieve minimum 20 percent budgetary allotment to education," Miamen said.
"The Liberian government has committed itself to financing education. Article six of the 1986 Liberian Constitution, as well as adopted international instruments such as the UN Convention on the Right of the Child (UNCRC), Incheon Declaration, Dakar Framework and Sustainable Development Goal 4 are indications. The 2019 Abidjan Principle consolidates all of these instruments making it even compelling to deliver on these obligations."
Meanwhile, the coalition is calling on the government of Liberia to diversify its funding in order to significantly narrow the resource gap to fund education despite the Government tight resource envelop, coupled with the huge economic challenge in domestic and foreign revenue mobilization.
"Our research findings will be available within a month. We, therefore, call on government and all well-meaning stakeholders to renew commitment for adequate education financing. It is high time that ideas and resources are harnessed if the sector must experience any significant improvement," stressed Miamen.