Why I Oppose the Proposed Private Public Partnership in Education in Liberia

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By. Anderson Miamen as culled from Facebook post.

 

As correctly said, which I totally agree with, garbage in, garbage out. Inputs determine Outputs. And to whom much is given, much is expected!

 

Among other things, you cannot grossly underfund public education; renege on your responsibility by leaving the system unmonitored; refuse to decentralize decision making as required under relevant laws and policies governing the sector and expect public schools to perform as desired. You are dead wrong if you ever insinuated that the current public school system is "rotten beyond repair and not sustainable." Yes, I said it!!!!

 

Students in Sotiamon, Child Development Academy, Levi C. Williams, Spiritan and other better-performing schools are being taught by Liberians. Besides, these schools are being managed largely by Liberians. How come they are performing, but many of our public schools are doing the exact opposite? Why is government even paying more for teachers in the public schools, but are under-performing compared to many of their counterparts in private schools? The fact is, you cannot underfund and pay lip-service to public education and think that Private Public Partnership is the only solution the problems in Education. No, I vehemently disagree with such insinuation.

 

Pay the needed attention, adequately fund as well as effectively monitor the current system and see whether it won't work and produce better results than what's expected of the proposed partnership schools. How can you annually spend around 3,500 USD on each primary school (calculations based upon the total budgetary allocations to the 2,289 public primary schools in the country from 2006 to 2010) and expect better results when proposing more than 160,000USD for one/each of the schools to be managed and operated by Bridge International Academies? The amount for each Bridge-run school (over 160,000 USD) is what government has used/spent on over 45 primary schools under the current system. Will Bridge be performing magic even if they were to improve learning outcomes when receiving such massive financial support? Does the Ministry of Education and its collaborators have any moral rectitude to argue that the current public school system has failed us and that PPP is a better option, especially with over 8 miilion USD being proposed for just 50 schools to be run by Bridge International Academies? A little over 3500 USD for each primary school under the current system and over 160,000USD for each school under the Bridge system, is there any logical comparison to make between the two in terms of financial support and the probability of delivering needed results?

 

It would be sad and ill-logical if anyone ever made such comparison. Our thoughts are: let's adequately invest in and effectively monitor/supervise the current system and see whether it will not produce the needed improved learning outcomes. I am convinced that this can happen. Well-funded and well-supervised private schools are performing, the public school system can do likewise if given the needed financial supports and attention. The Ministry of Education should not escape its responsibility to fix the mess it has created, in part, by inadequate financial supports and failure to effectively monitor the current public school system and introduce a Private Public Partnership that is not holistic and sustainable.