Min. Werner: Improvement in Liberian education

Minister Werner addresses UNESCO in Paris

Liberia’s Education Minister George Werner has addressed the 39th General Conference of UNESCO in Paris, France emphasizing that Liberia has been making frantic efforts aimed at ensuring that all Liberian children have access to free, quality education by focusing on three crucial areas: improving the quality of teaching, ensuring effective monitoring and exploring innovative solutions, Isaac C. Yeah writes.

Mr. Werner said as efforts to improve the quality of teaching and management in Liberian schools is progressing, it is essential to effectively measure the impact this is having, thus developing a framework for School Quality Assessment, which will monitor improvement in school quality from Early Childhood Education up to Senior Secondary, and enable the provision of objective feedback to school administrators and teachers.

“UNESCO’s support for the Joint Program to Accelerate Efforts to Advance the Rights of Adolescent Girls in Liberia has also made a significant impact.

“Madam Director-General, I was heartened to see the focus on education as a catalyst for development and gender equality at the top of your vision for UNESCO.

“This is an issue that is of great importance for me and that is particularly close to the heart of our current President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. I am confident that our successors will be eager to partner with UNESCO to continue this effort”, Minister Werner told the conference.

He praised UNESCO for helping Liberia to launch its efforts to achieving Sustainable Development Goal Four (SDG4), aimed at ensuring inclusive and quality education for all.

He noted that UNESCO also provided crucial guidance to ensure that the country “Getting to Best Education Sector Plan” was fully aligned with SDG4.

“UNESCO has been an invaluable partner as we have worked to rebuild our education sector after the devastating impact of years of conflict followed by the Ebola crisis”, the Liberian education minister revealed.

Minister Werner said Liberia was exploring innovative solutions to rapidly accelerate improvements in school management and teaching quality.

He said of the country’s most ambitious reforms is a pilot program called Partnership Schools for Liberia – PSL for short.

The program, according to him, has already demonstrated tremendous potential, with students learning 60 percent more than their peers in other public schools.

While the program itself has prompted international debate, one thing that tends to get lost is that PSL isn’t just about improving education in a small number of schools. PSL schools serve as learning hubs, where we can identify effective interventions that can be applied across the school system. And we are doing just that, he said.

Minister Werner concluded by thanking the World Heritage department at UNESCO for making Liberia to have a tentative list of sites to submit for World Heritage status.

He said UNESCO is helping Liberia work towards a day when Liberia is known for something more than just Ebola and child soldiers, by bolstering its education system, and showing the world its rich cultural heritage.