Education International
Education International

Building the capacity of Liberian teachers

published 16 September 2015 updated 1 October 2015

More than 50 teachers from Liberia’s 15 counties traveled to the capital Monrovia last week to discuss ways to enhance education quality in the country, part of Education International’s programme to boost the profession.

The workshop in Monrovia, organised by Education International (EI) from September 14-16, is part of a pilot programme funded by the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) to enhance the engagement of the teaching profession on teaching standards and quality. It aims to advance the thinking on teacher effectiveness, by engaging participants in a critical reflection of what issues affect the daily practice of teachers and education support personnel and to determine what elements of the context are influencing student achievement, both at school level and in terms of the broader education system context, its functioning and policies currently in place.

It also aims to raise teachers’ awareness of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), its mechanisms for elaboration and funding of national education plans and the opportunities for the participation of civil society at GPE’s national level governance structure, the Local Education Group and to identify preliminary policy reform priorities linked to the GPE’s strategic objective on teachers, namely: recruitment, training, support and retention.

The group activities cover issues including assessment practices, curriculum, parent opinion and behaviours, physical plant, professional development, resources and materials, student achievement, student and community demographics, student attitudes, supervisory guidance and support and teaching practices.

The discussions revealed that the school environment is currently not conducive to learning. There is a widespread lack of materials and classrooms are often overcrowded. Liberian teachers are particularly concerned with the scarcity of pedagogical support and supervision. They believe that further coordination between the central administration, parents and teachers will help improve the quality of education in the country. They also emphasised the need to improve the attractiveness of the profession if Liberia is to attract the best into teaching.

Prior the workshop, The Minister of Education, George Werner, received EI Deputy General Secretary David Edwards, and a delegation of the National Teachers’ Association of Liberia to discuss the new education priorities and a plan for Liberia. The minister lamented that students and teachers lost seven months of schooling during the Ebola crisis but that he wanted to invest in teachers and work with NTAL in crafting a new education vision that is mutually agreeable. The NTAL's General Secretary Samuel Johnson expressed his expectations and commitment to help find effective solutions that are based in the real world classrooms of his members and their communities.