Remarks By Ambassador Michael McCarthy, U.S. Ambassador to Liberia, at the Close Out of the USAID Read Liberia Activity

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Thursday, August 18, 2022
Remarks By Ambassador Michael McCarthy, U.S. Ambassador to Liberia,  at the Close Out of the USAID Read Liberia Activity
U.S. Ambassador Michael McCarthy Making Remarks at the USAID Read Liberia Close Out Event

(As prepared for delivery)

I am pleased to participate in this closeout event for the USAID Read Liberia program and to recognize our stellar teachers and partners, especially the Ministry of Education, who have contributed to the successes we have witnessed over the years and that we have heard of today. 

The United States and Liberia share the vision that investing in quality education is a powerful driver of development and one of the strongest instruments for reducing poverty, improving health, gender equality, peace, and stability. The efforts of the past five years by USAID and the Ministry of Education have laid a strong foundation for nearly 180,000 Grades 1 and 2 students who benefited from upgraded early grade reading instruction and over 5,000 kindergarten pupils who also benefited from improved reading skills and vocabulary enhancement in a pilot activity.  Over 4,500 teachers were trained in using the early grade reading methodology and 391,418 teaching and learning materials were distributed. 

These results offer much cause for hope and celebration. And so, the U.S. Government will continue to invest in educating young Liberians, including at the early grade level.  Research has shown that quality investments at that level, have significant multiplier impacts over the lifetime of children. 

We are thrilled that the USAID’s Read Liberia Activity, in partnership with the Ministry of Education, improved early grade reading skills for primary students in 640 schools.  Other important accomplishments include:

  •  30 master trainers and 83 reading continuity facilitators, who are teachers on the Government of Liberia payroll, have the skills to train other teachers in this methodology.
  • 852 Ministry of Education staff, including district education officers and county education officers, can implement the District Education Monitoring Approach, to conduct school performance assessments.
  • Additionally, the Ministry received all technical tools, teaching and learning materials that were jointly developed with the Read Liberia team for both the early grade classes and the kindergarten classes.
  • The creation of a promising MOE private-public-education stakeholder partnership that is working toward sustainability and expansion of early grade reading instruction across the country.
  • The Ministry of Education also established important policy milestones to anchor these investments and ensure their continuity, such as:
    • Making reading a stand-alone subject for early grades to be taught 5 periods a week.
    • Integrating the coaching functions into the role of the Vice Principals of Instruction across schools.
    • Approving national reading benchmarks for Grades 1 – 6.
    • Updating National Teacher Professional Performance Standards for Liberia.
    • Drafting a National Reading Strategy to be validated for subsequent MOE Senior Management Team approval.

We commend the actions the Government of Liberia has taken to expand this program beyond public schools to faith-based, private, and community schools. As we officially close the Read Liberia Activity, I wish to reiterate that it is through reading that a child, a community, and ultimately a country can lay the solid foundation for future success and development in the 21st century. 

With this, it is important for the Ministry of Education and its development partners to continue to implement the evidence-based reading reform and scale it up to all counties to ensure optimal sustainability.

We look forward to continuing working with the Government of Liberia, other international development partners, local organizations, parents and communities, and the private sector, toward improving reading in our schools as a base for the country’s continued development.

The United States Government remains a strong partner to the Government and People of Liberia to invest in a healthy, productive, and educated population that can catalyze Liberia’s potential for greater standards of living for every Liberian.

THANK YOU.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Issuing Country 

Last updated: September 21, 2022

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