The government of Liberia has allotted US$11.4 million as pilot funding for the execution of the much criticized Public Private Partnership carved by the Ministry of Education aimed at improving the education sector of the country.
Deputy Education Minster for Administration, Aagon F. Tingba, told journalists yesterday at the regular press briefing of the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism (MICAT) that the funding currently targets 74 public institutions out of 100 initially earmarked for the pilot phase of the program. Tingba’s latest pronouncement comes amidst consistent criticism from educational stakeholders as well as policy makers including the National Teachers Association of Liberia (NTAL) against the proposed plan by the ministry of Education to outsource primary public schools to private institutions. Educational Minister George Werner recently indicated that the proposal intends to improve the learning outcomes and productivity of 1.5 million Liberian students currently enrolled in various primary schools across the country Minister Werner further mentioned that the new project to be launched in September would bring lessons from elsewhere in the world, including South Africa, Kenya, the US and UK to the educational system of Liberia. According to him, partnership schools will be models of excellence, acting as innovation hubs which would strengthen the whole system as technologies, pedagogies, and other models tested in partnerships schools can be scaled to other public schools. He stressed that for many teachers the greatest frustration is that, despite best intentions, they receive little training or support, adding, “No education system can exceed the quality of its teachings”. “The government of Liberia does not have the resources, the expertise nor structures to routinely train all our 19,200 teachers. Partnership schools offer a model to change that. Partnership schools will employ existing government teachers but will harness the teacher training expertise and capacity present in the non-government sector to help improve government teachers”, he averred.