New York, USA – President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on Thursday joined Randall Lane, Editor of Forbes, who hosted a high-level breakfast dialogue attended by philanthropists, activists and leaders in global education at Forbes in New York City.
President Sirleaf, alongside Education Minister, George K. Werner, discussed Partnership Schools for Liberia (PSL), an innovative government-led pilot program launched in 2016, which pairs independent education providers with public primary schools to improve the quality of education; an urgent and compelling need in Liberia following decades of conflict and the Ebola virus outbreak.
According to a dispatch from New York, the results from the program’s first year, as measured in an independent evaluation, provide promising evidence that PSL can serve as an accelerator for improved learning nationwide, and has the potential to be replicated in other developing countries.
The dispatch said the study found that students in PSL schools learned 60% more than their peers at other public schools in just the first year of the program. It also found significant improvements in school management and a higher quality of teaching at PSL schools.
President Sirleaf and Minister Werner shared their hope to consolidate the program and institutionalize its gains as Liberia moves to its historic political transition next month.
Education Minister, Werner noted that the learning gains identified in this evaluation, combined with improvements in test scores across all public schools for the 2016-17 academic year, mark a clear indication that Liberia’s education sector is making significant improvements, but that additional resources are needed to ensure the sustainability and impact of the program.
In a related development, President also held talks with the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
The talks were held behind closed doors. President Sirleaf also held bilateral talks with the Prime Minister of Malta aimed at strengthening the already strong relations between the two nations.