CSO Demands More For Education; Petitions House of Representatives For 20% Increment In Education Budget

By: Jeremiah Sackie Cooper
Gmail: jeremiahcooper105@gmail.com

Liberia: In a quest for easy access to quality education for Liberian students and the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals 4, a group of Civil Society Organizations under the banner Education Budget Advocacy Coalition has petitioned the House of Representatives for a 20% increment in the 2024 fiscal year budget for education.

Education Budget Advocacy Coalition is a USAID Civil Society Activity sponsored organization.

Presenting the petition to the House’s committee on Education on behalf of the collaborating organizations on Monday, February 19, 2023, on Capitol Hill, Monrovia, Urias W. Brooks, the Chief Executive Director of Youth Movement for Collective Action said that the petition aimed to offer a concise overview of the challenges and set the groundwork for advocating for effective solutions and heightening the need for more budgetary allocation for education in Liberia.

According to Brooks, the Liberian government has failed to live up to its commitment made under the Incheon Declaration of 2015 and the Dakar Framework of 2000 by allocating a minimum of 20% in the annual national budget for education.

“The Liberian government, in alignment with its commitments under the Incheon Declaration of 2015 and the Dakar Framework of 2000, pledged to allocate a minimum of 20% of the national budget to the education sector”, he recalled.

Mr. Brooks said despite witnessing a gradual increase in the Liberian education sector budget in recent years, rising from 12% in FY 2023 to 16% in the FY 2024 draft budget, the government has struggled to fulfill its obligations.

He noted that the Liberian educational sector is heavily challenged due to limited budgetary support from the national government.

The UMOVEMENT Executive Director named the lack of school supplies, teacher remuneration, and poor educational infrastructure among others as issues hindering the improvement of the Liberian education system.

“Stakeholders have deeply recognized the pressing necessity for transformative policies to tackle critical issues concerning school supplies, teacher remuneration, educational infrastructure, early childhood education, and bolstering budgetary support to local education offices in the education sector”, he stressed.

The Liberian population is dominated by youth with over 40% of the country’s population being youth. This seems to be imposing a growing pressure on the education system.

Access to basic education in Liberia has declined and is at the risk of privatization and expansion among private and faith-based providers. Overall, 82 percent of learners enrolled in Early Childhood Education (ECE) are overaged, with rural population being more overaged than urban population, according to the UNESCO 2022 report.

Receiving the petition, the House’s Chair on Education, Representative Thomas Romeo Quioh, vowed to submit the plight before the plenary of the House of Representatives for further action.

He lauded the collaborating organizations for the path of dialogue in their level of advocacy.

Meanwhile, the gathering was attended by other members of the Education Committee including Representatives Jacob Debee, Eugine Kollie, Nyan Flomo and Frank Saah Foko, the director for Teacher’s Education at the Ministry of Education, Saywalla Jallah, Monrovia Consolidated School System, Isaac Saye-Lakpoh Zawolo, and students of the William V.S. Tubman High School among others.

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