Upon recent visits to Liberia (one of the 15 countries identified by the UN System-wide Special Initiative on Africa with enrollment rates of less than 50%); we at the ANNIE T. DOE MEMORIAL FOUNDATION discovered that enrollments school age children are almost negligible in some segments of Liberia. In some Liberian communities, enrollment of boys ranges from 23% to 49%, but of girls, from only 13% to 31%. While school enrollment has expanded dramatically over the past 40 years in most of the developing world; Liberia has been unable to stem the steep downward enrollment trends that became manifest in the several years of economic and political crisis. As such, less than half of the Liberian children are going to primary school, adult literacy rates are below 40%, and over 50% of women are illiterate.
The educational system of Liberia has been gravely weakened by the ravages of the twenty years civil crisis. Consequently, the damaged infrastructure, the brain drain, inadequate logistics, teaching and learning materials all contribute to the difficult learning condition for the Liberian child. As such, the various educational institutions are finding it difficult to effectively cater to the educational needs of the country. The current global economic crisis is further exacerbating this alarming enrollment statistics. Such educational profile has graved implications for Liberia’s development; and the current global economic crisis is not helping the situation. Many, including educational scholars and world leaders have indicated that only through education will the African continent, and its sons and daughters, be able to meet the demands and challenges of the 21st century.
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