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Liberia's public-private school partnerships to reform failing educational system


Liberia’s government is looking to reform its poor educational system, after announcing plans to roll out a public-private partnership involving 120 primary schools across the country starting the next school year.

The privatization project will cost an initial $65 million, which is more than three quarters of the country’s entire education budget.

Shannon May, Co-founder, Bridge International Academies says: “PPP is partnership schools for Liberia. It’s modeled on the charter school system in the United States as far as I know. And it’s trying to make our public schools better. So now, where does Bridge come in? Bridge was invited to come in and be vetted to see if we could make a difference, working with the ministry, building capacity, working with teachers and helping make public schools better.”

The plan has however sparked nationwide fury with teachers’ unions in the country contesting the move and threatening to go on strike, but others say it could help turn around failing schools.

Over two-thirds of Liberia’s school-age children do not make it to class, according to the UN. In 2013 the country had 15,000 teachers for 675,000 pupils aged between 6 to 11 years.

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