The Liberian education system is emerging from a prolonged and brutally destructive period of civil unrest. Liberia is significantly behind most other countries in the African region in nearly all education statistics. After 14 years of civil war, which resulted in the destruction of much of the country’s trained workforce, the country is still in the process of rebuilding its educational system. USAID, in concert with other donors, works with the Ministry of Education (MOE) to address education challenges related to access, quality of instruction, human, and financial resources.
USAID’s education programs focus on improving the quality of teaching and learning (especially in early grade reading and math), and increasing equitable access to safe learning opportunities for girls, as well as for youth who missed out on education due to the prolonged civil conflict. The USAID basic education project is helping rebuild the curricula, teaching and management staff, instructional and learning resources, data systems and policy environment essential to providing basic education services to all Liberians.
USAID works in support of policy reforms that set new directions for education in Liberia, and in 2011 a new Education Reform Act was signed into law by President Johnson Sirleaf. USAID, through its Liberia Teacher Training Program II, also supports Ministry of Education efforts to decentralize operations through assistance in preparing administrative regulations and policy guidelines, developing a new management structure, establishing a monitoring and evaluation framework and installing a comprehensive education management information system to ensure timely data for decision making.
The Excellence in Higher Education for Liberian Development project partnered with the University of Liberia and Cuttington University to build Centers of Excellence to expand access to, improve the quality of, and enhance the relevance of higher education programs in engineering and agriculture, fields that are critical to address Liberia’s development challenges.
The Center for Excellence in Health and Life Sciences project manages the implementation of program objectives of the Africa-U.S. Higher Education Initiative partnership between Indiana University and the University of Liberia. The project focuses on increasing University of Liberia’s teaching and learning resources for medicine, nursing, midwifery, life sciences, and public health through the creation of a new two-year, Core Health and Life Science undergraduate program, as well as improvements in quality of instruction through faculty and staff strengthening, curriculum development, and upgrades in instructional resources.
Youth and Workforce Development
The Advancing Youth Project works to enhance the capacity of the MOE and non-governmental organizations to provide increased access to alternative basic education, social opportunities, leadership development, and sustainable livelihoods pathways for out-of-school Liberian youth. The support ensures the Ministry of Education and organizations are able to provide youth with little or no previous schooling with the educational and work-readiness skills and training necessary to succeed.
Through Liberia Teacher Training Program II, USAID assists the MOE to develop a teacher professional development system, through revision of national professional development and certification standards, development of a teacher career ladder and approaches for improved teacher recruitment, training and deployment. USAID also assists the Ministry’s efforts to normalize the payroll and combat corruption through the installation of a national teacher finger print identification card system linked to the payroll and education management information system. The program supports government efforts to implement the pre-service primary level certification teacher training program; strengthen the Rural Teacher Training Institutes; and through school-based teacher training, implement Liberia’s national plan to ensure all children are reading by the end of Grade 3.
Through the Girls’ Opportunities to Access Learning program, funded by the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s Threshold Grant to Liberia, USAID is working to increase girls’ enrollment, attendance and retention in primary schools in Lofa, Bong, and Grand Bassa counties. At the national level, the project addresses the challenge of overage enrollment and broadens the impact of the Program’s efforts through its support to the Ministry of Education to update its National Policy on Girls’ Education. Results of research undertaken during the project will provide an evidence base to determine which interventions resulted in the greatest change in key outcomes, and will assist Liberia in addressing policy areas for improvement to close the gender gap in primary schooling.
Last updated: September 18, 2015