In the wake of barrage of criticisms from partners including Education International, and National Teachers Association of Liberia (NTAL), Marcus S. Wleh, Country Director of Bridge Academies, Partnership Schools for Liberia (PSL) said the PSL is the best option for improving learning outcomes in Liberia.
Partnership Schools for Liberia (PSL) is a pilot programme run by the Liberian Ministry of Education that selects non state school operators for the purpose of improving learning outcomes.
Since its inception, educational stakeholders have condemned the move by the Ministry of Education MOE describing it as an abandonment of an educational responsibility to the commercial benefit of a private company.
However, at a news conference Yesterday, Country Director Wleh said the campaigns have amounted to naught and it seems the organizers thereof, have no interest in the Liberian children on whose behalf the program is disrupting the status quo and changing learning outcomes.
He mentioned, “Bridge is only one of eight providers for Brac International. We have other operators including Street Child, Omega, Liberia Youth Network, Stella Maris Polytechnic, Rising Academies, and More Than Me.”
“Partnership school is not about Bridge only. We are scratching our heads on why is it that people are always using the name of Bridge instead of addressing the core issues,” he said.
He maintained despite the criticisms, Bridge PSL have enrolled over 9,000 students in 25 schools across the country over the course of the 2016/2017 academic year.
“Through the partnership, children attend strongly-managed public schools, where well-trained teachers are in class teaching the Liberian national curriculum for over eight hours a day,” he said.
He stated, “a new report ‘Learning in Liberia’ published by the Liberian Ministry of Education, Pencils of Promise, The Dean of Education at the University of Liberia and Bridge PSL public schools, reveals that over the course of a single semester, students in Bridge PSL public schools could read seven more words a minute and answer 6% more questions correctly about the story they just read. In math, they solved 2.6 more addition problems and 2.2 more subtraction problems in a minute.”
“Bridge PSL public school students made more progress toward achieving national literacy benchmarks. In just four months, 17 percent of Bridge PSL second graders met the reading fluency benchmark for the first time, compared to only 4 percent of second graders at traditional public schools,” he added.