Liberia: ‘You Have Our Support to Transform Education for Public Schools’ Says Bridge Liberia M.d. At Stakeholders’ Dialogue Forum

Monrovia — The Managing Director of Bridge Liberia has reaffirmed the organisation’s commitment to transforming education for Liberian students and improving learning gains.

Speaking at a two-day multi-sectoral stakeholder’s dialogue forum on transforming education summit and enhancing access and retention in the education sector, Hon. Gbovadeh Gbilia began by calling on parents to ensure their children go to school and remain in school, as a way of preparing them for the future.

He frowned on parents using children as breadwinners, when instead it should be the other way around for parents to make the sacrifice for the future of their children.

An OCHA Report in 2006 disclosed that over 15,000 Liberian children were in the streets performing different forms of child labour, thus preventing them from going to school.

Bridge Liberia is a social enterprise partnering with the government and is currently supporting over 300 public primary schools across the country where over 75,000 students are enrolled.

Education Minister Prof. D. Ansu Sonii at the forum emphasised the government’s readiness to make the needed adjustments to ensure children go to school and remain in school.

The education minister used the forum to discourage parents and traditional leaders from taking children to the sande and poro societies when schools are in session, something he described as a serious problem affecting learning gains in rural Liberia.

As part of strategies to improve enrolment and retention of students, the forum considered a 360-degree approach of targeting said challenge that has hindered the education of Liberian children.

Some public schools in rural Liberia have suffered serious challenges with enrolment and retention of students due to traditional leaders and parents taking students to attend traditional schools (sande and poro) while schools were in session.

Some schools even suffered possible closure due to traditional practices in the community.

The Cinta Public School in Margibi County, is one of the many schools affected by such traditional practice.

The school took centre stage in the media recently when parents and traditional leaders opted to send their children to traditional schools and threatened the school’s administrators if they do not allow students to leave the school for the latter.

Traditional leaders from the fifteen counties including chiefs and elders, formed part of the forum, to help find a solution to such a situation that is impeding learning gains for children in rural Liberia.

In separate remarks, they all agreed to support the education of children in the community by rescheduling the timing of the traditional schools so that it does not interfere with that of the formal school curriculum, as recommended by the Senate Committee chair on education, Senator Prince Moye.

The forum was also a medium for all education stakeholders to proffer recommendations to the ministry of education on how to improve the education sector and was organized by the Joint Education Committee Secretariat at the legislature and took place in Ganta, Nimba County.

GoL Climax training on “Result-based Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation”

The Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning with support from the United Nations Children’s Fund over the weekend climaxes a four-day participatory capacity-building training in what is termed as ” Result Based Planning Monitoring and Evaluation workshop in Gomba city, Nimba County.

The workshop was held under the Theme: Strengthening Sub-National Staff and officials’ capacities for development effectiveness and efficiency’ that is aligned with the National Development Plan of Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD)

The objective is to increase and strengthen the knowledge and skills of sub-national staff and county officials in contemporary results-based monitoring and reporting to improve the quality of their reports on outcomes of the County Development Agenda.

On overall, it is expected that participants will acquire fundamental knowledge to comfortably discuss Results-Based monitoring and evaluation terminologies- by developing implementation strategies and plans at the subnational level.

Furthermore, the PAPD Results Framework interpretation and data flow arrangement including a description of various data collection techniques and the associated data quality issues are also part of the topics being taught at the training.

Making remarks at the closing session, the Assistant Minister for Development Planning, Hon. Benedict Kolubah says superintendents and county officers should decentralize knowledge sharing for national growth and development.

He made the disclosure at the end of a four-day result-based planning, monitoring, evaluation, and reporting training.

According to him, MACs were also trained across Maryland, RiverGee, Grand Kru and Grand Gedeh last year as a pilot project for counties to do results base planning and look beyond the national budget.

However, if we train and capacity county officers, they will be able to support various county offices for the development of projects and implementation of projects and programs.

He noted that the county development office needs to identify the needs of the people and market those projects both national and international.

“County development office by itself needs to identify the needs of the people and market those projects both national and international ” he added.

When the need of the people and projects for national development is seen, impact will be seen in their respective places. It is your responsibility as superintendent to do and is also our responsibility to build your capacity.

Going forward, the national development plan will be built on the county perspective and begin to engage county officers to develop programs and come up with ideas.

The four days training was attended by UNICEF representatives, Superintendents, and County officers, from Margibi Bong Lofa and Nimba County as well as senior staff from the Ministry of Finance Development Planning (MFDP).

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