Sunday, September 4, 2011


The educational system in Liberia has been affected tremendously due to the tragic civil war that lasted for about 20 years. A 2003 Liberian Ministry of Education (MOE)/UNICEF study found that 20% of schools had been destroyed, and many of the remainings are in urgent need of repair. In addition, many education managers and teachers left the country during the conflict and have been replaced by teachers without formal qualifications or experience. Currently, an estimated 62% of teachers in Liberia are unqualified. The result has been reduced enrollment; between 2000 and 2002, the gross enrollment ratio for girls declined from over 72% to just above 35% and from 73% to just above 48% for boys. The election of President Ellen Sirleaf-Johnson has brought signs of hope; between 2006 and 2007, enrollment rates increased by 24% for girls and 18% for boys -but at a cost to quality, given already strained systems and infrastructure. In addition, there are large numbers of over-age learners in primary school. For example, a recent school census found that 85% of the students in grade G were 8 to 20 years old, with 50% being between 11 and 20 years. SOURCE (

Majority of the students can only afford to attend the public or government schools or university because of the high tuition fees involved. Most of the schools being operated by the government have poor performance of their students. This is due to the low salaries being paid to their instructors and the lack of good teaching materials. Instructors in most cases pay less attention to their students. Unlike the public or government schools, the private or church mission schools are offering a better quality of education to most of their students. Although there are very few public or government schools that are struggling to do likewise. Some private schools provide books and other materials to help ease the problems of getting a good textbook by the students.

Liberia's educational system ranks amongst the poorest within the region, according to Unicef.

Paying for grades:

Lorinah, a 15-year-old girl from Kakata, Liberia, says that throughout the country, students and teachers often bribe each other for better grades."An even bigger problem," Lorinah says, "is teachers exploiting female students for grades."According to many students she interviewed, both practices are common, and Liberia's Director for Secondary Education admitted as much: "It is true sometimes students buy grades to enable them to be promoted to the next class," she told Lorinah.But poorly-paid teachers who use the bribes to supplement their salaries were to blame as well, Lorinah said.(

Bright mind, dim future

"I want to be an engineer and be a part of the reconstruction of my country," says Emmanuel, 16, from Monrovia, Liberia.But despite finishing first in his class in high school, Emmanuel will not be attending school next semester. After his one-year scholarship to technical school ended in June, he realized he could not afford to continue."My mother is a classroom teacher and she makes about $100 a month, or $1200 a year," Emmanuel said.By happenstance, that is exactly how much a year of engineering school costs. But his mother needs to pay rent, buy food, and pay school fees for Emmanuel's younger sister."She's doing her best, but it just doesn't seem to be working. It's heartbreaking," Emmanuel said. SOURCE(

 Liberian families continue to struggle with rising secondary school fees. Only one out of 10 grade school teachers are women. Counseling, life skills and health services are almost non-existent. Girls are forced to trade sex for grades with teachers, or barter sex on the streets for financial support. Statistically, the gender gap in Liberia's elementary schools has narrowed. The most recent school census revealed that girls accounted for 47 percent of students registered at Liberia’s public primary schools, but only 31 percent at public high schools in 2007-2008. Mannah credits free tuition, feeding programs by the World Food Program, and piecemeal scholarships by international donors for uniforms and writing materials.
Those numbers are misleading though. The census only measures enrollment at the beginning of the school year and does not consider the high drop out among girls several months later due to family obligations, teenage pregnancy, or poverty. UNICEF maintains that statistics reveal lower enrollment and retention of girls after Grade Three. UNICEF Education Specialist, John Sumo, blames the Liberian Government for abandoning its girls’ education policy. SOURCE (

Nearly 60 percent of Liberian women are illiterate and they suffered numerous setbacks during the country’s civil war. According to recent government health and population surveys, 56 percent of Liberian women never attended school, and though enrollment is growing, the country still has Africa’s lowest net rate of primary school attendance.Other indicators also suggest that women in post-war Liberia are far from gaining parity with men. Female genital cutting is common despite global campaigns to ban it as cruel and a health risk, and more than one-in-three young women report being victims of physical violence.In addition, Liberia’s teenage pregnancy rate is 31 percent, compared to the global average of 11 percent. Teen pregnancies, abuse and abandonment are all cited as reasons why many adolescent girls never make it beyond primary school.(


In my opinion the lack of well skilled teachers and decent educational facilities are the vital causes for the current fail in the educational system in Liberia. It is a call for action, and a call for attention. The literacy rate is tremendously low and the lack of financial means for a parent to send their child to a decent school in the country (Private School) just keeps getting larger. Something has to be done. It's been made clearly that corruption and education in Liberia just cant be separated. Teachers abusing their rights and trading sex for grades from their students is unbelievable and yet a reality.As a young liberian i greatly understand the importance of education, it has been the core reasons for global development, social change and political empowerment for many nations around the world. I believe that to educate the youth of Liberia is to empancipate them from mental slavery and other oppressions.Educational stimulation of the mind is the key to success. The Government has to step up and A call for action is needed and it's needed NOW!!
(This blog post was provided by various articles and sources on the internet targeting the Liberian Educational System).

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