Opportunity EduFinance and BRAC have partnered to bring Opportunity’s Education Quality programme to BRAC Liberia schools. The Opportunity-BRAC partnership will bring school leadership and teacher professional development, alongside a variety of training materials and resources for school improvement, to the 33 schools managed by BRAC in the Partnership Schools for Liberia (PSL) programme[i]. PSL is a pilot programme run by Liberia’s Ministry of Education and 8 selected non-state school operators to provide every child in Liberia with access to high-quality education. The 33 schools managed by BRAC Liberia are in remote locations within the Lofa, Nimba and Grand Gedeh counties. This is an exciting opportunity for EduFinance to bring its expertise and resources to another country in West Africa, and to work with BRAC to impact over 7,500 children with improved education quality.
The Opportunity EduFinance-BRAC Liberia partnership launched in March this year with Opportunity running an Introductory training session to 66 educators and 40 BRAC staff in Gbarnga (approx. 200km from Monrovia). The aim of the partnership is to enhance BRAC’s work in helping their 33 PSL schools improve the quality of education they provide in the rural communities they serve. Additionally, it will enable BRAC to transfer its learnings and utilise Opportunity’s resources to reach more schools in, and potentially beyond Liberia. BRAC’s Country Representative for Liberia, Mainuddin Ahmed said:
“We’re really excited to be working with Opportunity EduFinance to ensure their expertise and tools reach primary school children in rural Liberia and to improve the quality of education on offer in our PSL schools. We know this collaboration will strengthen the services we are delivering to the people of Liberia and provide opportunities for staff at both organisations to share learning.”
BRAC Liberia, part of BRAC’s global network, is a development organisation dedicated to alleviating poverty by empowering the poor through grant-funded programs. BRAC’s mission is to empower people and communities in situations of poverty, illiteracy, disease and social injustice. BRAC Liberia was established in 2008, its programmes currently reach across 10 counties in Liberia including operating the 33 public primary schools in the PSL programme, and 30 community based early childhood development centres. Liberia has the lowest school enrolment rate in the world, with four out of every ten children not in school (that’s almost 1 million out of school children). And those children who are in school often have poor learning outcomes due to limited resources and large numbers of pupils per classroom[ii][iii]. As well as operating schools BRAC Liberia runs programs in microfinance, small enterprise, agriculture, poultry & livestock, health, empowerment, and livelihoods for adolescents.
Opportunity EduFinance’s Education Quality programme is supporting BRAC Liberia’s PSL schools through three key function areas: i) Senior Leadership Professional Development: 6 development modules covering topics such as building a successful school; school administration, governance and leadership; pedagogy and approaches to effective teaching & learning, and child protection. ii) Pathways to Excellence school development guide: Opportunity EduFinance’s comprehensive self-assessment tool covering 31 domains of excellence for schools to assess themselves against. The guide leads into structured school development planning with access to learning materials for each topic area. iii) Clusters and reporting: BRAC Liberia schools working in clusters will be guided by BRAC staff through Opportunity’s training resources for school leaders and teachers. Surveys and reports will be uploaded on tablet based surveys and collated centrally to form regular dashboards of activities and progress in school improvement.
This is Opportunity EduFinance’s first venture into Liberia and first project working with public sector schools, Andrew McCusker Head of EduFinance said:
“We’re thrilled to be partnering with BRAC Liberia, and look forward to seeing how our Education Quality programme can help BRAC’s PSL schools to improve the quality of education they offer their communities. We bring to the programme best practice from international experts, exposing schools in Liberia to new approaches to pedagogies, new teaching methodologies, and processes for better school management and administration."
The partnership will run for 18 months. The next step is delivery of Opportunity EduFinance’s Senior Leadership Professional Development training in June for the leaders from BRAC’s 33 schools. Andrew McCusker added:
"We are also delighted to share the experiences from our field teams in Africa with BRAC Liberia staff; it is through our local teams that we learn, develop and improve to help thousands more kids get a better education.”
Opportunity and BRAC look forward to watching and learning from the progress of this partnership and the impact it has on schools and children in Liberia.