Liberia: Make Public Education Inclusive, Affordable

26 November 2020

-COTAE urges government

The Government of Liberia has been urged to make public education inclusive, accessible, and af-fordable, as well as gender sensitive and responsive in the best interest of the people of Liberia ra-ther 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 dif-ferent international, regional and national framework documents, including the Universal Declara-tion of Human Rights, the African Chapter on Human and People's Rights, the Sustainable Devel-opment Goals (SDGs), the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD) and the Con-stitution 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 fulfilling the right to education in Liberia, he said government should ensure that education, especially public education, is affordably provided to every citizen irrespective of tribes, locations, economic statuses, sex, genders, and religions, and that similar qualities and standards, as in private schools or even better.

He noted the Abidjan Principles seek to advance different tools to promote, support, protect and defend the right to education in Liberia as well as need to consolidate efforts aimed at increasing support for education by the state.

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 ef-forts 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, Liberia's Deputy Education Minister for Planning and Research, Alton V. Kesselly said there is need for education stakeholders, policymakers and citizens to avoid mixing politics with education, saying, "If we continue to mix politics with education then our education sector will continue to go backward," Min. Kesselly said.

He indicated that with the progress made by Liberian students in the 2019-2020 West African Se-nior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE), it was important for policymakers to prioritize the education sector for the future of school-going children, who are considered future leaders.

Also, the Coordinator of the Civil Society Human Rights Platform of Liberia, AdamaDempster 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 imple-mentation of these protocols is still poses 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 lauded 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).

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