Education in Liberia - An Overview
The education system in Liberia is not up to the mark; perhaps Liberia has one of the weakest education systems in Sub Saharan Africa, the reason to this are many, like lack of infrastructure and resources, week economic conditions etc. The region was unstable politically and socially before 2000 and there was civil war. Conditions have improved after 2000. Liberia is under intense stress for building educational infrastructure. As of year 2001 and after there are no indications of education available in Liberia. The access to education has been structural weakness of Liberia.
According to estimates of Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs there are 48% school going students in age group 5 to 24 years old. All school going children are concentrated in primary schools. Net Enrollment Rate in primary schools is 46%. Net Enrollment Rate for males is 61.41% and for girls 34.12%. The school drop out rate in Liberia is high, 65% for boys and 73% for girls, these students drops school before reaching grade 5. Only 42% children have shown learning competitiveness in the past. At the secondary level the Net Enrollment Rate is 34%. Over aged children need special support and encouragement to attend school. The major obstacles to which Liberia has to fight are parents’ illiteracy, overcrowded classrooms at Kindergarten and Primary level, high school dropout rate, and inadequate educational infrastructure. The quality of education is inappropriate in Liberia, because of lack of relevant curriculum, lack of learning materials, lack of qualified teachers and overall system instability.
Faith based education has long tradition and deep roots in Liberia both at primary and secondary level. The Catholic system is largest followed by the Episcopalian and Methodist schools. In recent years non-certified private institutions has grown roots in Liberia.
According to Ministry of Education there are 13 Vocational Training Institutes (VTIs) in Liberia, but these institutes are not in function. The Ministry of Youth has 4 Technical and Vocational institutes. The vocational / technical institutes in Liberia provides education to people who possess at least 6th grades certificate. Training is provided in masonry, plumbing, carpentry, metal work, horticulture, and agronomy among others.
In the year 2000 higher education system in Liberia was concentrated around 3 Universities, 4 University Colleges, 1 Polytechnic, 8 Seminaries and 16 Junior colleges.
The Ministry of Education is responsible authority for administering education at all level in Liberia starting from Kindergarten to Higher University education. The ministry is structured around three departments- Department of Administration (Finance, Personnel, Scholarships, School Feeding, Building and Grounds, Transport, Security and Supplies), Department of Instruction (Curriculum, Education, Primary Education, Parochial, Secondary, Teacher Training, Planning (Planning, Statistics and Data Processing, IT developments, and Research). The MOE has representation at the county and district levels.