Monrovia — The Government of Liberia has been urged to ensure that public education is made inclusive, accessible, and affordable as well as gender sensitive and responsive in the best interest of the people of Liberia rather than privatization of the sector.
Anderson Miamen, National Coordinator of the Coalition for Transparency and Accountability in Education (COTAE) said the right to education is a fundamental human right guaranteed under different international, regional and national framework documents, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the African Chapter on Human People's Rights, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD) and the Constitution of Liberia.
Speaking at the opening of a two-day training workshop to increase stakeholders' knowledge about the Abidjan Principles and key issues related to fulfillment of the right to education in Liberia, as such, Miamen said the Government of Liberia should ensure that education, especially public education is affordably provided to every citizen irrespective of their tribes, locations, economic statuses, sex, genders, and religions on an equal basis with similar qualities and standards as any private school or even better.
The COTAE National Coordinator noted that the Abidjan Principles seeks to advance different tools to be used to promote, support, protect and defend the right to education in Liberia as well as the need to consolidate efforts aimed at increasing the support for education in the country.
The Abidjan Principles came into being as a result of a group of human rights experts from around the world who adopted the instrument on the right to education. It seeks to strengthen existing efforts to ensure that everyone's right to education is protected in the context of growing and often unregulated private actor involvement in education.
In remarks, Deputy Education Minister for Planning and Research, Alton V. Kesselly said there was a need for education stakeholders, policymakers and the citizens to avoid mixing politics with education. "If we continue to mix politics with education than our education sector will continue to go backward," Min. Kesselly said.
He indicated that with the progress made by Liberian students in the just ended West Africa Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE), it was important for policymakers to prioritize the education sector of the country for the future of school-going children who are considered the future leaders.
Also, the Coordinator of the Civil Society Human Rights Platform of Liberia, Adama Dempster said the gathering was important as it provided journalists with the relevant pieces of information on human rights issues.
Mr. Dempster indicated that Liberia has signed a number of international conventions, but the implementation of these protocols is still posing challenge for the Government of Liberia. "In order to show commitment as a country, we have to consider the implementation of the different protocols, especially the Abidjan Principles," he said.
The Country Director of ActionAid Liberia, Lakshmi More made presentation on: 'Understanding privatization and its implications for fulfillment of the right to education in Liberia, especially for women, youths, children, minority groups and persons with special needs.'
Beneficiaries of the training appreciated COTAE for providing what they referred to as an 'insightful' training and vowed to amplify ongoing advocacy efforts by COTAE and others for the betterment of the country's education sector.
The day-long training workshop brought together over fifty (50) journalists from several print and electronic media institutions as well as civil society organizations in Liberia. It was organized by the Coalition for Transparency and Accountability in Education (COTAE) with support from the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA).