Liberia: ICampus Jumpstarts More for Education Film Festival with Call for Budgetary Allocation
Monrovia – A program which uses short films to showcase the problems facing the educational sector has been launched in Liberia.
Report by Alline Dunbar, [email protected]
Mr. Luther Jeke, Manager of the ICampus told participants at the official launching Wednesday that the core objective of the More for Education film festival is to ensure the implementation of the Liberia Education Reform Act of 2011.
The More for Education film festival is a Campaign which uses short films to showcase the problems faced by those in the educational sector including teachers and students while at the same time providing insights that aims to advocate for an increment in the education budget to a minimum of twenty percent in the national budget by the 2020.
Giving an overview of the program, Mr. Jeke stressed that the films will also be shared on all iCampus social media platforms and disseminated widely to the public and with LAVI learning partners.
The films were created by iCampus with support from USAID Liberia Accountability and Voice Initiative(LAVI). “We made three short films about critical issues related to education and the topics of these films were chosen by the film-makers in conjunction with the LAVI technical teams and CSO partners and will focus on educational issues in Bong county and at the national level”.
Mr. Jeke added: “This will help to support conversations around what can be learned from the challenges around education and how CSOs can best use visual storytelling tools to explain their work and improve advocacy”.
Mr. Othello Gaye, the financial officer of the National PTA network of Liberia Othello Gaye, assured the audience that the twenty percent toward education in the national budget will be achieved this year while twenty percent toward education will be achieved in 2019”.
Mr. Gaye further stressed that there will be an improve teaching environment in Liberia going forward “with the level of engagement we have had since April of 2018 under Liberia Accountability and Voice Initiative” he declared.
Mr. Gaye affirmed that for the education sector to be improved there is a need for both teachers and parents to participate actively in the process. “Over the years the reason why it has not been working is because there has been no partnership between the PTA”, Mr. Gaye averred.
He added that the advocacy will continue until the educational sector becomes more effective.
Mr. Shiffa Baysay, representing the National Teachers Association of Liberia (NTAL), noted that that the education sector is faced with a lot of challenges. “There is a huge challenge in the educational sector and just a few were capture in the films”.
Mr. Baysay added that teachers are paid very low salaries compared to janitors in other ministries and agencies. “Workers in the education sector have only a straight jacket salary in Liberian dollars why? This is not a joke and it needs serious attention”.
Mr. Baysay says most of the problems in the education sector continues to persist due to inadequate supervision. “I have a picture in my phone where the County Educational Officer (CEO) car in Sinoe County Greenville is resting on stones. All the tires are out and parked; do you believe adequate supervision is being done? No” he stressed. “The CEO car should be on tires ready to visit all the educational districts but instead it sits on stones”.
Mr. Baysay has meanwhile called on the United States Aid for International Development(USAID) to continue to help in facilitating and making sure the educational sector in Liberia is improved. The outcome of the campaign he explained would be for the greater understanding of educational issues among development organizations in Liberia and beyond.