Government’s Education Program LEAP and partner Bridge Liberia showcased at Education World Forum 2022 in London

The largest gathering of Global Heads of State, Education ministers and stakeholders is currently taking place in London; and Liberia’s Government and its Education Minister Prof. Sonii is in attendance – showcasing its flagship education reform program with its key technical partner Bridge Liberia. 

The prestigious Education World Forum (EWF) is an annual gathering that provides an  opportunity to education ministers and stakeholders across the globe to come together and discuss how their education systems are working and debate strategies for improving outcomes in their respective countries. 

Since the pandemic the event has been postponed so EWF 2022 is important not only because of the large number of Political and thought leaders it attracts, but also because of the theme and focus of deliberations – Education: building forward together; stronger, bolder, better.

Liberia will be one of the most influential countries at the Education World Forum this year, for the reason that – unlike many others – its Government has implemented an education transformation program – The Liberian Education Advancement program (LEAP) – designed to deliver better opportunities for its youth.

Many Governments are looking for new solutions that will help them not only re-build their education systems and combat the learning losses that have impacted their populations but build back better – putting in place systems that drive learning and enable success. Liberia is showcasing one.

When the World Bank report disclosed that half of all children in low and middle income countries are in “Learning Poverty”, defined as a child not being able to read or understand a simple text by age 10, and even worse in sub-Saharan Africa,  where a catastrophic 90% of 10-year-olds cannot read at this basic level, governments like the Liberian Government understood that only an innovative approach to education would bring the desired change.

The Liberian Government led the way in Africa by attracting private sector partners to the country in order to help reinvigorate its education system and partners like Bridge Liberia are working with the government to overcome gaps in education in learning across Liberia’s counties. 

Bridge Liberia is focused on helping the Liberian Government achieve SDG4, the UN goal of quality education by supporting improvements in the public primary education system. Bridge operates as part of the LEAP programme supporting 350 public primary schools across the country accounting for 64% of the overall programm. 

Bridge Liberia is one of the programs supported by NewGlobe, a global education organisation supporting the improvement of public education at scale across State and nationwide programs to ensure more effective learning in classrooms. It’s approach to  public education, recommended by the  World Bank, combines structured pedagogy with the gathering of real-time data supported by technology for accountability and feedback. These methods are increasingly being viewed as essential as countries struggle to recover from  the global COVID-19 pandemic.

As leaders discuss possible solutions to help them build back better they will be looking at interventions that have not only been implemented at scale but have been proven to be effective. Liberia’s LEAP programme was studied as part of a gold standard RCT conducted by the Centre for Global Development and Innovations for Poverty Actions. Among other findings it showed that students at Bridge Liberia supported schools learned significantly more than students at traditional public schools, nearly twice as much in reading and more than twice as much in maths. The equivalent of an additional year of schooling.

The Bridge Liberia leadership are among those attending the Education World Forum alongside Liberia’s Government delegation. They will highlight the support the organisation continues to offer governments in turning government schools into globally competitive public schools.

Bridge Liberia Managing Director, Gbovadeh Gbilia, who is also UNESCO’s Vice Chair on education, believes that it is possible to building forward together; stronger, bolder, better and to undo the damage that the pandemic has done to education systems; the key is partnership and can be achieved by governments – as Liberia has proven – with the support of partnerships like those between the Liberian Government and Bridge Liberia. 

We have a task at hand, and with the level of support coming from partners in the private sector, we believe that we are on the right track to attaining this goal of SDG4”.

However, the conversation is still needed at the top, where decisions are made.

Forums like the Education World Forum, present such an opportunity and possibility to rewrite the course of action for education in developing countries like Liberia.