Liberian teachers stay strong in anti-privatisation struggle
Despite the Government’s intention to embrace a public-private partnership with Bridge International Academies, a group of civil society organisations remains steadfast in its opposition to the government’s plan to outsource its entire primary school system.
The Liberian United Civil Society for Education Dialogue’s (LUCSED) anti-public private partnership (PPP) advocacy campaign has taken steps towards direct advocacy with the Government squarely in its aim. at the Government, the Senate and the Lower House.
The group, which includes the Liberian education union, NTAL, a member of Education International (EI), recently met with lawmakers and the Legislature’s joint committee on Education. The Minister of Education was due to appear before the Plenary of the Lower House to address critical and emerging issues in education, including the controversial PPP.
Meetings at the Lower House
On Tuesday, 19 April, LUCSED visited the Capitol Building to witness Minister Werner’s appearance before the Plenary of the Lower House to address the PPP issue. Members of the group used the opportunity and met with government representatives, who welcomed and supported its advocacy efforts and promised to thoroughly scrutinise the Ministry’s decision.
While attending the session of the House of Representatives and meeting with individual lawmakers, some teachers held a peaceful protest outside the Capitol Building holding anti-PPP posters and a banner in opposition to government’s attempt to outsource public primary schools in the country.
The group has also recently met with the Senate and Lower House’s Joint Committee on Education. The LUCSED had the opportunity to address legal and procedural issues associated with the PPP process as well as its implications for the sector and the country at large.
While acknowledging that national procurement guidelines had been broken by handpicking Bridge International Academies, the Joint Committee failed to take appropriate action to remedy the situation instead labelling the Minister’s actions “honest error.”
Despite deep disappointment at such an outcome NTAL remains resolute its campaign to save their schools from being outsourced.”.