Liberia is participating in this year’s Global Heads of State, Education ministers, and stakeholders currently taking place in London; Liberia Education Minister Prof. Ansu Sonii is in attendance representing Liberia with its key technical partner Bridge Liberia and others.
The famous Education World Forum (EWF) is an annual conference that brings together education ministers and stakeholders from around the world to discuss how their countries’ educational systems are performing and to debate methods for improving outcomes.
Since the pandemic, the event has been postponed, therefore making EWF 2022 a significant one not just because of the vast number of political and intellectual leaders in attendance, but because of the theme and focus of the discussions – Education: advancing together; stronger, braver, better.
Liberia will be one of the most significant countries at this year’s Education World Forum because the Liberian government has executed an education transformation initiative called the Liberian Education Advancement Program (LEAP) to provide improved prospects for the country’s education sector.
Many governments are looking for new solutions to help them not only re-build their education systems and combat the learning losses that have impacted their populations, but also to help them rebuild better, putting in place systems that drive learning and enable success, and Liberia is one of them.
When a World Bank report revealed that half of all children in low and middle-income countries are in “Learning Poverty,” defined as a child who cannot read or understand a simple text by the age of 10, and that the situation is even worse in Sub-Saharan Africa, where a shocking 90% of 10-year-olds cannot read at this basic level, governments like the Liberian Government realized that only an innovative approach to education could bring about the desired change.
The Liberian Government led the way in Africa by attracting private sector partners to the country in order to help reinvigorate its education system and partners like Bridge Liberia are working with the government to overcome gaps in education learning across Liberia’s counties.
Bridge Liberia is focused on helping the Liberian Government achieve SDG4, the UN goal of quality education by supporting improvements in the public primary education system. Bridge operates as part of the LEAP program supporting 350 public primary schools across the country accounting for 64% of the overall program.
Bridge Liberia is one of the programs supported by NewGlobe, a global education organization that works to promote public education at a national and state level to ensure more effective learning in classrooms. Its World Bank-recommended approach to public education blends structured teaching with real-time data collection and technology-assisted accountability and feedback. As countries battle to recover from the global COVID-19 pandemic, these strategies are becoming increasingly important.
Leaders will consider interventions that have not only been executed at scale but have also been demonstrated to be beneficial as they examine various ideas to help them rebuild better. The Centre for Global Development and Innovations for Poverty Actions investigated Liberia’s LEAP program as part of a gold standard RCT. It was discovered, among other things, that kids in Bridge Liberia-supported schools learned nearly twice as much in reading and more than twice as much in arithmetic than children in typical public schools. The equivalent of a year of further education.
The Bridge Liberia leadership is among those attending the Education World Forum alongside Liberia’s Government delegation. They will highlight the support the organization continues to offer governments in turning government schools into globally competitive public schools.
Gbovadeh Gbilia, Bridge Liberia’s Managing Director and UNESCO’s Vice Chair on Education, believes that it is possible to move forward together; stronger, bolder, better, and undo the damage that the pandemic has done to education systems; the key is a partnership, which can be achieved by governments – as Liberia has demonstrated – with the support of partnerships like those between the Liberian Government and Bridge Liberia.
“We have a task at hand, and with the level of support coming from partners in the private sector, we believe that we are on the right track to attaining this goal of SDG4”.
However, the conversation is still needed at the top, where decisions are made.
Forums like the Education World Forum, present such an opportunity and possibility to rewrite the course of action for education in developing countries like Liberia.”
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