FOL’s Support for the Liberian Educational System
Since 1998 (Friends of Liberia was started in 1986, and was initially involved in mediation, community development and election monitoring in Liberia. This timeline summarizes only FOL’s work in education.)
1998 December: Exploratory visit and first agreements made with Cuttington University College.
1999 July: First FOL Liberian Education Assistance project (LEAP) teacher-training workshop held at Cuttington University College for three weeks. Funding was provided by Friends of Liberia, The International Foundation and the Banyan Tree Foundation.
(Original curriculum included music, language arts, science, math and evaluation. Early childhood education (ECE) was added based on observed need. Participants included both teachers and principals. LEAP material printed. Participants are from Grand Bassa, Bong, Bomi and Margibi counties. Liberian co-trainers were selected for the following year based on their performance in the workshop.)
2000 July: FOL LEAP teacher-training workshop held at Cuttington University College for three weeks. Funding was provided by Friends of Liberia, The International Foundation and the Banyan Tree Foundation.
(Curriculum expanded to include limited environmental sessions with local environmentalists and trauma/healing counseling. More co-trainers selected. A one-day forum held for 60 participants of both 1999 and 2000 workshops. Science manual printed. Liberian primary level textbooks and teachers manuals provided. Expanded participation to include schools from Nimba county. )
2001 July: FOL LEAP teacher-training workshop held at Cuttington University College and Phebe Hospital Conference Center for three weeks. Funding was provided by Friends of Liberia, The International Foundation and the Banyan Tree Foundation.
(FOL ECE manual printed. Increased emphasis on self-sufficiency and sustainability. Discussions of a Liberian non-governmental organization started. Counties represented were Nimba, Margibi, Bong, Montserrado, Grand Bassa, and Bomi. Demonstration school incorporated in workshop. First workshop in Buchanan. Site visits begin.)
2002 July: FOL LEAP Workshop cancelled because of renewed violence in Liberia.
November: FOL funds a three-week fact-finding mission to Liberia to determine status of participants of previous training; hold one-day forums at two sites; start planning for 2003 workshop; and work on incorporation of LET, the Liberian teacher network.
2003 July: FOL LEAP Workshop cancelled because of recurring violence in Liberia.
December 2003-January 2004: FOL teachers visit Liberia–
1) to determine status of participants in the previous training programs,
2) to conduct a one-week training program for trainers in Monrovia,
3) to meet with the Ministry of Education and UNICEF
(Education Minister Kandakai endorses use of FOL’s ECE Manual and LET trainers for all primary teachers in Liberia, and UNICEF agrees to publish 5,000 manuals).
2004 January: LET becomes an official Liberian NGO.
February-June: Schools hold their own workshops
August-September: Workshop for 50 co-trainers held at Booker T. Washington Institute.
2011 Trained teachers hold county workshops throughout the year
March: FOL LEAP holds workshop for three weeks at Kakata Rural Teacher Training Institute
(FOL ECE manual printed locally. Liberian co-trainers worked with U.S. trainer to update the ECE manual. Increased emphasis on early childhood education, lesson planning and literacy for primary students and literacy support for the teachers and principals in the workshop. U.S. trainers with Liberian co-trainers worked in the trainees’ schools as mentors and coaches. Met with the Ministry of Education and again gained its approval for LEAP.)
2012 March: Three FOL teacher trainers hold workshops and forums in Kakata and Bong for previously trained teachers from workshops since 1999. U.S. teachers and Liberian co-trainers observe teachers in Kakata classrooms.
(Most attendees are surveyed about their classroom conditions, teaching practices and the effect of LEAP training on their careers. Teachers meet with officials at national and local level to gauge support for ECE teaching.)