Budget allocation to the education sector for fiscal year 2019/2020 has suffered US$1.9 million decline as compared to previous budget year.
The approved budget figure for the sector for this fiscal year is being put at US$15.8 percent. With this decline, there is little to celebrate given that the National Budget for this fiscal year 2019/2020 has suffered an eight percent decrease from US$570.14 million in fiscal year 2018/2019 to US$525.91 million in fiscal year 2019/2020.
In other words, the percentage increment for education to 15.8 percent leaves a lot to be desired as it translates into US$85.4, a US$19 million decline when compared to the US$853 million allocation for fiscal year 20182019.
Taken on a regional scale, Liberia’s funding to education lags far behind regional neighbors, evidence by COTAE 2018 research that puts Sierra Leone allocated to education at 27 percent, while Ghana and Senegal invested thirty-five percent of their budget to education.
Addressing a news conference recently, the Executive Director of the Coalition for Transparency and Accountability in Education (COTAE), Anderson Miamen said a lot more has to be done if education must reach desirable heights in Liberia.
He wondered why Liberia is failing to invest considerably in education while others are investing in building a vibrant education sector.
According to Miamen, Government has to muster the political will to achieve minimum twenty percent budgetary allotment to education.
Article six of the 1986 constitution of Liberia, as well as adopted international instruments such as the United Nations convention on the right of the child (UNCRC), Incheon declaration, Dakar framework and sustainable development goal 4 are all indications to the Liberian government commitment to financing education.
The Education Reform Act of 2011 makes an even stronger stipulation in terms of making room for sixty percent of signature fees allocation from concession companies, which is albeit not forthcoming. The Liberian government’s pro-poor agenda for prosperity and development, especially pillar one (power to the people) emphasize the need to provide quality, inclusive and life-long education to the public.
He mentioned that Liberia as a nation cannot continue to sign international protocols or create documents indicating her commitment to education without matching her words with the appropriate funding to support the education sector that is supposed to prepare the next generation.
As a coalition advocating for more funding to education over the last sixteen months, COTAE acknowledge that the sector is faced with numerous challenges due to low financing, and that these challenges range from lack of adequate learning facilities and supplies to shortage of teachers, inadequate training of teachers, and ineffective school monitoring and supervision.
“The education reform law of 2011 has not been fully operationalized giving it the teeth to bite and ensuring that there are county structures. These many challenges continue to stand in the gap of quality and affordable education for all Liberians.”
The 2009 Liberia youth fragility assessment found that youth are currently faced with high levels of unemployment, low levels education and skills training, a severe lack of links to sustainable livelihoods, and insufficient or improper training for the Liberian job market.
The large numbers of out of school and at-risk children and youth put Liberia at risk of not achieving objectives in the 2015 economic stabilization, recovery plan and vision 2030.
Access to learning are limited and the ones that are available do not provide a conductive environment for acquiring quality knowledge, skills, and value.
He further mentioned that the system has on the increase failed to help students realize their dreams and live their potential to the fullest, as such there is a need for all education stakeholders combine and increase effort to inject life in the education sector.
He indicated that the government of Liberia’s tight resource envelop, coupled with the huge economic challenge in domestic and foreign revenue mobilization, it is critical that greater diversity of funding is sought in order to significantly narrow the resource gap to fund education. TNR