Liberia: Government Paves the Way for LEAPs inclusion in New Education Sector Plan
MONROVIA – Following the recent training of close to 1,500 government teachers by the Ministry of Education in collaboration with Bridge Liberia, The Ministry of Education (MoE) has announced the expansion of the Liberian Education Advancement Program (LEAP) into every county in Liberia.
The growth of LEAP is one of the key measures that the Government is taking to tackle the learning loss that is anticipated to affect schools and communities across the country as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Ministry of Education is more than doubling the size of the LEAP program ensuring that more students will benefit from the Government’s intervention. The program is one of the most innovative public private partnerships on the African continent; making Liberia a globally admired model of public education improvement as it enters its sixth year.
LEAP has enabled the government to close the gap in its basic education sector through effective teacher training; pedagogically appropriate lesson materials and ongoing coaching, training and capacity building. The expansion marks the government’s intent to make the Liberian Education Advancement Program a cornerstone in its forthcoming Education Sector Plan (ESP).
At the start of the 2021/2022 academic year, LEAP expanded across the country by allocating additional schools to the four remaining partners in the LEAP program, this includes:
- 179 additional government public schools to Bridge Liberia; over a 100% increase in the number of schools supported by the organization; taking its total to 350 supported schools.
- 8 new schools to Street Child, taking the total number of schools to 40.
- 15 schools to U-Movement taking the total number of supported schools to 40.
- No additional school allocation for Rising Academies which still supports 95 schools.
The expansion of the program means that 525 public primary schools are now benefitting from the Government’s LEAP partnership. Close to 1,500 government teachers were re-trained at the beginning of the 2021/2022 academic year to use modern child centered pedagogy and technology; giving an additional 60,000 students access to a quality education and the opportunity to build a better future.
Overall, LEAP is now supporting over 130,000 students to fulfill their potential and help build a stronger more educated Liberia
The largest government partner in the LEAP program is Bridge Liberia. The expansion sees the operator working in four new counties: Gbarpolu, Rivergee, Grand Gedeh and Sinoe.
The announcement emphasizes the MOE’s commitment to the improvement of its public education system using non- state actors, aligning it with the policy direction of multilaterals like the World Bank, USAID and the Education Outcomes Fund.
President George Manneh Weah recommitted his government’s support to making the education sector better, saying, “My administration will continue to take steps in the direction of creating a better environment for young Liberians to prepare themselves so that they will be ready to take full advantage of the opportunities that are certain to present themselves, both now, and in the future,”
Chair of the Education Committee at the Senate, Hon. Prince Moye is keen on supporting partners to excel while providing strong oversight to the entire LEAP program: “We will provide oversight to ensure every provider lives up to what they are committed to do, because we know that they are here to help improve outcomes, therefore we all need to support them as well.”
Chair of the Education Committee Lower House, Madam Mariama Fofana, commended the Ministry of Education for continuing to improve educational outcomes for students across Liberia: “We want to say thank you to the entire Ministry of Education for allowing Bridge Liberia, through LEAP, to do what they’re doing, and commit our cooperation and support at the national legislature.”
The Minister of Education, Professor D. Ansu Sonii, making the announcement said: “We are proud of the decision we have made to expand our public education partnership program across the country. Liberia has many challenges and we believe that it is only with an educated population now, not in generations to come, that we will overcome them and build a safer and more prosperous future for our people.
“We want our children to have different opportunities to their parents and for Liberia to have a brighter future. We have seen that LEAP works at improving learning outcomes and we believe it’s important for as many children and teachers to benefit as possible.
“Quality education should be available for all. We are grateful to our partners who continue to work towards the improvement of the Liberian education system and pleased to continue to leverage partnerships that work towards enhancing the quality of education in Liberia. This is an exciting moment for our families, communities and teachers and we are proud to watch the program flourish and grow into the years ahead as part of our education sector plan.”
The LEAP program was rigorously studied using a gold standard randomized control. Overall, learning increased by 0.26 standard deviations (SD’s) in English and 0.35 SD’s in math; combined this equates to more than a year of additional learning. For providers like Bridge Liberia students had the equivalent of 2.5 years of additional learning over the same period.
As LEAP enters its sixth year of programming only four of the original non-state partners remain in the philanthropically supported LEAP program: Bridge Liberia, Rising Academies /U Movement and Street Child.