A new study released today shows that students in Bridge-run Partnership Schools for Liberia (PSL) public schools learn twice as fast as their peers in traditional public schools, receiving the equivalent of a full year of additional schooling.
The yearlong study was designed to measure whether a radical new approach to delivering Liberian primary education could improve learning for students in a country decimated by Ebola and civil war. The answer has been a conclusive yes. The report ranked Bridge student performance best among all eight PSL partners. It also found that students were learning more, teachers were less likely to be absent and families were happier. Commenting on the report, Marcus Wleh, Head of Bridge PSL in Monrovia, said, “These learning gains are outstanding and offer real hope and opportunity for the thousands of Liberian children who will be joining PSL this year. We are proud that our students have significantly outperformed their peers in ‘traditional’ public schools. We want to congratulate every single teacher and pupil in all 25 Bridge run PSL public schools for their hard work. These extraordinary results are due to the bold vision of the Liberian Ministry of Education, the hard work of pupils and teachers, and Bridge’s innovative model.” The report authors at Center for Global Development, said, “There is solid evidence of positive effects for Liberian children during the first year of PSL. Students at PSL schools learned more, received more instruction, and were happier at school than students at traditional public schools. Teachers in PSL schools were more likely to be at school, on-task, and engaged in instruction.” Dr Shannon May, co-founder of Bridge, said, “The world was watching to see whether Liberia’s education system could be transformed, and the answer is yes. Liberia’s innovative PSL public school program has been validated. I’m delighted that the Government has decided to expand the programme to the southeast and build on this success. The report proves that teacher accountability, improved operating capacity, a full day of learning for pupils, and class sizes conducive to learning, produce great results. The success of this program gives a generation of children hope and Liberia itself a brighter future.”