Profile of

LIBERIA'S EDUCATION SYSTEM

 

A. BACKGROUND

After the 1997 elections in Liberia, which brought in to place a civilian government, there were several schools, colleges and universities that were reopened. Most of the schools in the country are being operated by churches or Christian missions, among which are the Catholic Church, Methodist, Episcopal and a few others. Others are being by the government under the supervision of the Monrovia Cooperative School System (MCSS).

Most of the schools are found within the Monrovia area. This is because of the lack of good roads throughout the entire country. Christian missions have extended their schools to other parts of the country so as to increase the educational process and ease the mass flow of students into Monrovia.

Majority of the students can only afford to attend the public or government schools or university because of the high tuition fees involved. Most of the schools being operated by the government have poor performance of their students. This due to the low salaries being paid to their instructors and the lack of good teaching materials. Instructors in most cases pay less attention to the students.

Unlike the public or government schools, the private or church mission schools are offering a better quality of education to most of the students. Although there are very few public or government schools that are struggling to do likewise. Some private schools provide books and other materials to help ease the problems of getting a good textbook by the students.

There has been a little increase in the number of community colleges and universities in the county sine the civil crisis. The government owned university has re-opened an annex in another part of the country to increase the number of students wanting to attend the university. The major problem of this university is financial support. There is very little support for the university by the national government. This in most times including this year has led to the delay in acquiring a degree at the nationís highest institution of learning. Many times a student spent six to seven years to earn a degree. Early this year (2000) the national university closed for the first semester and did not re-opened for nearly two semesters.

There are three private universities now opened which the plan to open a fourth one by the Methodist Church. There are near five private colleges most of which are being run by the Catholic Church, and the Episcopal Church.


B. DESCRIPTION

Kindergarten/pre-primary

Due to the lack of schools within the rural areas of the country, most of this education process is carried out in the Monrovia between the ages of 3 to 6. During this period the little students are taught how to identify letters and read.

Primary/Elementary School

There are many of these schools almost through out the country but with very few within the rural areas and the greater number within the Monrovia areas and surrounding communities. At this level students from grades 1 to 6 learn basic reading, English, arithmetic, general science and bible.

Junior High School

Most of the junior high schools are found in Monrovia except those of the church missions and very few government or public schools. All schools through out the country are under the Ministry of Education, which has the responsibility to regulate quality education to students in the country. During this level students are induced to the basic concepts of algebra, geometry, geography, physical science and chemistry. They also sit for the West African Exams for.

Senior High Schools

About 98% of the senior high schools are in Monrovia and the others within the rural areas of the country. In the senior high school level students are prepared for universities and learned the second editions to subjects taught during the years of junior high. Students are also allowed to sit for the West African Exams if they are successful.

College and University

Liberian colleges and universities are limited in many aspects because of the lack of finance. The national university is always faced with numerous problems that can not be solved by the national government. There is presently the need for better instructors at the university.

Private universities have better facilities and therefore present better quality education in the country because their instructors are well paid. But they also have their own limitations in terms of accreditation with most of the foreign universities. There is still a growing need to improve the educational system in Liberia. This can be seen from the mass failure of students in the West African Exams of 1999 and 2000.