By Lewis S. Teh
Liberia’s Finance and Development Planning Minister Samuel D. Tweah, Jr. has told a cross-section of international guests that additional 6000 trained teachers are needed here to bridge current gap in the country’s educational sector.
“We need about six thousand more teachers in our schools [and] to fund them requires a lot of money US$ 40 to 45 million”, Minister Tweah said while addressing stakeholders in Washington as panelists.
Mr. Tweah, who share the penal with World Bank President David Malpass, UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell’s and the head of the Tech World on Human Development stressed a need to prioritize more skills training for teachers than it is currently because half of the girls students before the COVID-19 pandemic dropped out of secondary schools across the country.
The panel was held on the topic, “At the Heart of a resilient future/invest in education for our children and our youth.”
He noted that the pandemic has exacerbated the situation hence, the need for huge investment in education.
“The change in education”, he further underscored, “requires collective innovation and that’s where this government is heading”, noting that the lack of sufficient teachers poses a serious gap to the sector.
He continues that the Government of Liberia is currently working with partners, including UNICEF and the World Bank with a national plan that looks at US$967 million to transform education in the country.
The government along with the executive and the legislature is committed to this for the growth of Liberia, Tweah assured.
He argued that human capital today remains a fundamental importance, as compared to infrastructure, but that Liberia is still not there because change in human capital won’t happen in one year, which is a challenge.
“Your report has revealed that human capital is a serious challenge; this is not just an education challenge but economic challenge because if we don’t invest adequately in education, we might compromise the future of the next generation.”
He says this is the opportunity that COVID-19 has brought which compels government to think about doing something differently while noting that government increases domestic resources by US$125 Million.
“In the short term, we have to pay for electricity, while in the medium term there will be US$100 Million allocated to focus on post-COVID activities, including the investment in education”, the Minister declares.