As part of the comprehensive Reform Initiative, the Ministry of Education in collaboration with education stakeholders and partners started a five day Joint Education Sector Review (JESR) 2019 in Gompa City, Nimba County from November 18 – 22, 2019, at the Peace Empire Hotel.
This event is done annually to review the accomplishments or progress made by the Ministry of Education to find amicable ways to implement pending projects that will professionalize and standardize the educational system.
The theme for this year’s JESR is “Restoring the Education Sector for Quality Outcomes through Collective Efforts and Innovation.”
Rev. Dr. Julius Julukon Sarwolo Nelson, Jr. President of the University of Liberia served as Keynote Speaker for this year’s JESR.
Henceforth, presentation was made by Hon. Alton V. Kesselly Deputy Minister for Planning, Research and Development. He gave the overview of both “Backward and forward looking.” He also said it builds on the experience of the past to plan for the future; it helps to avoid duplication of resources and harness the available resource appropriately.
The Deputy Minister also stated that the 2019 JESR is based on the 2016-2021 “Getting to Best” with support from GPE ( Global Partnership for Education). The Plan has its concentration on three critical areas that require improvement: School Quality, Education Management and Accountability.” Three strategic indicators were highlighted: Increase in the proportion of trained principals and teachers, proportion of principals to schools and proportion of toilet to schools.
the overview of Liberia Education Sector Performance 2018/2019 was
Presented by Hon. Latim Dathong, Acting Minister of Education. He added that Stock-taking of the performance of the Sector is occasioned on three independent goals: Increase Access, Improve Quality and Strengthen Governance. Some level of strides have been made on planned targets for the period concerns expressed were teaching is the most important activity for intervening stakeholders, “Regrettably learning outcomes are poor,” he stated.
However, he stressed that the World Bank report shows that there are many students in schools but they are not learning. This has been referred to as “Learning poverty.”
“USAID supports some ongoing teacher training and literacy programs, housing provision for teachers in rural areas is paramount. TVET is a priority to national development and should be expanded to create quality TVET institutions. New system for data collection has been developed in order to strengthen the education system, teachers need to be licensed,” Dathong continued.
This year’s Keynote Speaker, Rev. Dr.Julius Julukon Sarwolo Nelson, Jr. President of the University of Liberia said the theme of the review suggests that something was lost or eaten up and restoration needed. He continued “The sector needs persons who are called and not job seekers, persons who have the passion and doing the right thing without fear. Weeding out untrained teachers from the classroom should be a paramount initiative.”
The UL President said we must prepare for the 21st century and not 4th and should continue to plan well to succeed and source funding from government. The keynote Speaker also expressed that we should achieve quality outcomes at all levels and include all in our educational plan.
Madia Herring Mensah, head of Curriculum at the Ministry of Education said curriculum reformed with French and religious education is ready to go public. She mentioned that funding support for said initiative is coming from UNFPA and the Swedish embassy near Monrovia.
Additionally, she said a diagnostic study was carried out, syllabus written and regional teacher orientation was conducted for the 50 piloted schools; teacher handbook on Sexual Education, Teacher orientation has been planned to be conducted amongst other key reforms.
“The new curriculum is competency-based and the old is content based. It has 8 competencies: digital skills; research and problem solving, analytical skills, Entrepreneur skills, creative and innovative thinking, organization skills, effective communication and patriotism. The lessons are designed for learners to take active part. Teacher Training Institutes and universities/colleges must be knowledgeable about the curriculum though research mobilization is a key to achieving quality education,” she concluded.
For his part, WAEC Head Liberia, Mr. Dale Gbatoe stressed that the online process continues since its introduction in 2013 -2017. It was first given in the Gambia then in Sierra Leone.
JESR is a an annual event that brings together educational stakeholders and partners who access and review yearly progress and challenges in the educational sector for appropriate action.
This year’s event sees guests from educational institutions such as Sierra Leone, Nigeria, The Gambia, Phillipines and other global partners at a local Hotel in Ganta, Nimba County.