In 2015, former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf visited Kenya to see the Bridge International Academies Community School programme with her Education Minister, George Werner.
In 2016, the then President invited Bridge Liberia to work in the Liberian public school system, supporting Liberian schools to become powerful public schools. The result, an innovative public private partnership – Partnership Schools for Liberia (PSL) – designed to ultimately transform the country’s primary public education system. Bridge Liberia was paired with public primary schools across the country; while teachers remained on the Government payroll.
“Liberia needed to adopt a more radical approach. We know that education is a long-term endeavor and more rapid results can only be achieved by departing from traditional structures. This system aims at rapid educational transformation. The children and their families are the program’s strongest advocates, and that, to me, says it all. Improving education must remain a priority.”
Former President – Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s State of the Nation, 2017
After a change of national Government, PSL became the Liberian Education Advancement Programme (LEAP). LEAP is now in its fifth year, and Bridge Liberia is delivering statistically significant learning gains.
Four Independent Studies and Randomised Control Trials have shown the efficacy of the programme. Bridge Liberia has evidenced a statistically significant improvement in learning outcomes. In a gold standard RCT, students in Bridge Liberia supported public schools were found to benefit by an equivalent of 2.5 years more of learning in just 3 years.
As a result of their effectiveness, many Bridge Liberia policies have already been adopted into the broader Education system by the Ministry of Education; including a longer school day; and keeping pregnant girls in the classroom.
“Emphasis shall be placed on the mass education of the Liberian people and the elimination of Illiteracy. The improvement of our education system is and shall remain a constant and major priority during my administration.”
President George Weah’s State of the Nation, 2018
The programme was always designed to be financially self-sustaining once the Ministry of Education was able to increase its education budget to $100 a student per year; until that moment it remains reliant on philanthropic support.
Today, Bridge Liberia works across the country, in 11 of Liberia’s 15 counties. It is delivering on its promise to Liberia and quickly scaling a model that embodies what all public schools in Liberia should, and can, become — powerful places of learning that provide parents, students, and teachers a stable, supportive environment they can trust, and opportunities and resources to help them reach their potential and achieve success.
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