New Grant Financing to Strengthen Secondary Education in Liberia

WASHINGTON, July 2, 2019 -The World Bank Board of Executive Directors on Tuesday, July 2, approved an International Development Association (IDA)* grant of $47 million equivalent for Improving Results in Secondary Education (IRISE) project for Liberia.

The IRISE project will focus on improving the quality of secondary education services; increasing accessibility to and completion of senior secondary education, especially for adolescent girls. It will help upgrade the quality of the teaching workforce; make textbooks more accessible to students; and provide opportunities for learning digital skills. Given the high incidence of violence perpetuated in and around schools, the project will also address and prevent gender-based violence (GBV) by engaging school and local communities to enable a safer and more supportive schooling environment.

“This project is aligned with the Bank’s Country Partnership Framework and Liberia’s Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development, identifying Human Capital Development goals for the vulnerable in society. I am glad that young people, particularly girls, have been targeted to benefit from quality secondary education and skills development,” said World Bank Liberia Country Manager Larisa Leshchenko.

The project supports the government’s efforts to increase equitable access to senior secondary education, particularly for girls and those living in poor and rural areas and, ensures that young people can benefit from quality education that is relevant to the labor market.

“The IRISE project takes a system approach to address critical foundational issues and challenges facing the secondary education level in the country. Secondary education is linked to the labor market and enables individuals’ further learning to become productive, engaged citizens in society. This IDA investment will support Liberia to strengthen education system capacity at the secondary level, furthering the human development agenda set out by the government for Liberia’s socioeconomic advancement,” according to Co-Task Team Leaders Xiaonan Cao and Oni Lusk-Stover.\

Key components of this project include improving access and the learning environment at the senior secondary level through school construction and expansion, school rehabilitation and renovation with a community empowerment approach; and increasing opportunities for girls to transition to and complete senior secondary education. Under this component, scholarships will be provided to girls in counties with the highest female dropout rates at the senior secondary level. Four counties with the highest female dropout rates at the senior secondary level- Bomi, Gbarpolu, Grand Bassa and Sinoe – have been targeted for the Girls’ Education Scholarship Program. The Project will promote community engagement to empower young people, schools and communities to create safe learning environments. This is aimed at building positive interactions and relationships, as well as awareness on the benefit of educating women and girls.

On improving the quality of teaching in senior secondary education, the project will build the capacity of the William V.S. Tubman Teachers’ College at the University of Liberia to take the leadership in upgrading teacher education and in-service teacher training in the country, producing qualified teacher graduates who have the required content knowledge and pedagogic skills to effectively impart learning in the classroom and equip their students with 21st century skills for Liberia’s future development.

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