Liberia: civil society calls on government to stop the expansion of private education

published 21 August 2019 updated 26 August 2019

The fight against the privatisation of education has taken a step further in Liberia. The National Teachers' Association of Liberia together with twelve civil and human right organisations and two religious organisations sent a joint letter to public authorities reminding them of their responsibility to ensure quality public education for all.

Reacting to the Liberian government’s intended expansion of partnership schools, a movement led by Bridge International Academies, the National Teachers' Association of Liberia (NTAL) and civil society organisations revitalised their campaign for public education and their commitment to fight the commercialisation of education. Dated 20 August, the letter to the government clearly presents the deficits in Liberia’s education system and urges the government to commit to public education.

One of the key actors in Liberian partnership schools, Bridge International Academies (BIA) is the fastest-growing chain of “low-fee”, for-profit schools in the world. It is also the subject of much controversy. Studies commissioned by EI have identified many issues in the schools operated by BIA in several African countries. There are strong concerns about BIA substandard teaching methods and facilities, regulatory non-compliance and practices aiming to maximise profit at the expense of educational outcomes. For further information, please see the in-depth study of the partnership schools in Liberia.

The fight against the commercialisation of education is one of the main priorities of educators all over the world. Last month, the Education International 8th World Congress adopted a resolution reaffirming educators’ commitment and resolve to deepen and grow the Global Response to privatisation and renew “efforts at the local, national and regional levels thereby strengthening EI's advocacy at the global level in challenging and opposing profit making in education as it undermines the right of all students to free, quality education and creates and entrenches inequalities; and harms the working conditions and rights of teachers and other education workers”.