Liberia. 32 educators from the 28 schools belonging to the Diocese of Monrovia, participated in a training conducted by Strathmore University staff, thanks to support received from Harambee. Since the advent of peace (2003), Liberia has made remarkable progress in terms of human development, yet poverty remains a considerable challenge: about 70% of the population lives on less than $1.90 a day and the incidence of poverty is 20 percentage points higher than in most other developing countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
Approximately 40 per cent of the population is under 15 years of age and one third of the population is between 15 and 35 years of age: they represent the most vulnerable segment facing multiple forms of exclusion.
“47.3 per cent of the population has not attended school, a percentage well above the regional average of 34 per cent. The literacy level of the population varies and has significant inequalities by gender, location and income,” reports Margaret Roche, Director of Teacher Empowerment Programmes at Strathmore University and delegation leader for the Liberia Teacher Education Project.
“The biggest challenge remains the availability of qualified human resources. It is necessary to strengthen the skills of teachers if we are to have a positive impact on student performance.”
Over the past eight years, the number of Liberian teachers has doubled. Most work at multiple levels of the education system. “High rates of absenteeism and job abandonment are critical challenges for the sector. Many teachers face unbearable working conditions on a daily basis: unsafe or inadequate infrastructure, no drinking water, insufficient teaching aids, few resources, overcrowded and unevenly aged classes. “Most teachers are very young and therefore need support and guidance to be able to respond effectively to the challenges and opportunities they encounter as young professionals“.
With the aim of strengthening teachers’ skills, the training programme implemented by Strathmore in Monrovia allowed participants to focus on classroom and lesson management aspects, pedagogy (tools and materials; positive discipline); and financial management.
The mission of the Kenyan University staff allowed them to conduct a needs analysis of the specific needs in the education sector, so that subsequent training programmes could be defined.
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