Ahead of the opening of schools for the new academic year, Bridge Liberia is conducting a critical training for all it’s Regional Managers and School Supervisors dubbed “Super Training” in Ganta, Nimba County.
The quarterly ‘super training’ gives supervisors the skills to understand the various techniques of supporting classrooms, schools and school staff within the Bridge Liberia ecosystem. Supervisors have a key role, and the constant on the ground and individual supervision, support and feedback they offer to those in their areas, underpins the improved learning being delivered in schools.
This time, the supervisor training was made extra special because the Education Minister Hon. Prof. D. Ansu Sonii, Sr. decided to pay the Bridge Liberia team a surprise visit. The Minister along with members of the Senior Management Team, MoE technicians, WAEC officials, and County Education Officers are currently conducting their annual back-to-school planning retreat at the famed Alvino Hotel in Ganta City, Nimba County. As part of the retreat, a visit to the Ministry’s largest education partner gave Minister Sonii an opportunity to encourage and inspire the school supervisors who are on the frontline of the improvements taking place in schools.
The Ministry, which is the regulator of the government’s policies on education matters, designed – and leads – the entire Liberian Education Advancement Program (LEAP) in which Bridge Liberia is the biggest partner.
The Liberian Government first partnered with trusted education providers in 2016, choosing those with a proven track record in delivering high quality education. The programme has been a long standing success and while some of the original partners are no longer involved, LEAP is shortly starting its 6th year and anticipated to increase the number of schools it includes. The length of the partnership is a testament to the government’s leadership and the strong working relationship they have forged with partners that have been there from the beginning.
LEAP has so far yielded great results with students in government public schools achieving improved learning gains. Students at Bridge Liberia supported schools, showed statistically significant improvement in learning outcomes, benefitting by an equivalent of 2.5 years more of learning in just 3 years according to an independent study. The Government’s LEAP intervention has proven to be a driving force in impacting the growth and development of primary students in Liberia’s public schools.
At all levels of Government, the progress is being noted. Speaking recently at the United Nations General Assembly, President George Weah stressed both the need for Liberia to develop opportunities for its youthful population and its need for support using his keynote to emphasize that: “Liberia needs meaningful partnership on this journey of sustainable development.” The work with Bridge Liberia is an example of meaningfully sustainable partnership that is recognised as improving the development of the country.
Education Minister Prof. D. Ansu Sonni who is a veteran educator has always been a strong advocate for quality education for Liberian students. Prof. Sonii has over forty years of experience in the Liberian education sector in both teaching and administrative capacities.
Commenting on the partnership with Bridge Liberia and the Government, Prof. Sonii commended the support Bridge Liberia is giving to the education sector and specifically pointed out how proud he was that a Liberian Managing Director at the organization is helping deliver the needed change for Liberian students. He stated, “From the time I have been onboard, no other organisation has brought the kind of satisfaction in the performance of complementary education services that help us in the whole sector, than Gbovadeh Gbilia (GG) has, leading Bridge Liberia.”
Addressing a room full of enthusiastic supervisors, the Minister further highlighted that the education sector is greatly benefiting from the partnership with Bridge Liberia and assured that no amount of criticism – locally or internationally – will hamper the partnership or the process being made: “These advocacies are clearly not meant to provide help, or offer solutions but to cause us to lose the help that we already have and that they cannot provide”.
During his visit at the ‘super training’ he also challenged the supervisors to use the new skills acquired to effectuate positive change in the education sector and help their country grow.
William Appleton, Maryland County supervisor expressed how inspiring it was for the education minister to form part of the training and recommit his support to Bridge Liberia and education progress in general:
“The presence of the Minister at our training makes me optimistic that our work is making a difference. I’m proud that the people at the top in Government are noticing our good job”
Bridge Liberia supervisors have the responsibility to monitor and support all schools on a daily basis to ensure effective education delivery by teachers, principles and all school administrators – using the techniques and technology provided by the partnership.
Minister Sonii’s visit to the Bridge Liberia super training shows his ongoing interest and commitment to his flagship programme. The visit, which took time out of the retreat, shows his determination to monitor and participate in the programm at every level and ensure partners are supporting the Liberian Government effectively and doing what’s in the best interest of the program and the education sector.