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  1. Introduction
  2. "It's Nature, Not a Crime"
  3. World Report World Report Liberia | Human Rights Watch

This combination of factors considerably reduces the quality of education in any circumstances. It has been recommended by UNESCO to implement into the education curriculum the following threefold: teaching of specific "life skills", "learning to be", and "learning to live together" to the reinforcement of people's positive capabilities Dubois and Trabelsi, , p.

Liberia's civil war lasted 14 years before it ended with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Accord in Ghana in As far as education is concerned, Liberia had to deal with the strong backlog of the generation that failed to receive appropriate education. This nation had to address the difficulty to transform the schooling, teaching, and instruction areas, as well as rebuilding the entire infrastructure. The wartime left most of the schools and other education related buildings destroyed, as well as the total absence of teachers IBIS Education For Development, ; To start with, Liberia's government increased its focus on quality education and its promotion at primary school level with the slogan "back-to-school" efforts and towards "stay-in-school" Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children, , pp.

As Liberians are returning to their homes in large numbers, and child soldiers [were] being demobilized and reintegrated into communities, it is seen as increasingly important that quality Because there is virtually no infrastructure left, the transitional government is starting from scratch as it attempts to build schools and identify what supplies Liberian children needed most.

Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children, , p. It states that these areas will be those where children are returning from lives as ex-combatants, refugees, and internal displacement. The Liberian Project taught two essential points. First, history was a powerful tool that gave students a sense of place and a foundation for society where they live.

Second, that as Eleanor Roosevelt argued, universal human rights "begin in small places close to home The main objective of Liberia project was to combine teaching history, with global awareness, with grass roots philanthropy. They began teaching their students about Liberia and its difficult relationship to the United States, from the antebellum era to the present. They taught how the increasingly murderous fourteen-year civil destroyed the country. They then introduced the students to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, discussed her campaign as "Ma Ellen" and "the Iron Lady of Liberia", and asked the students to monitor and asses her presidency.

Throughout, they asked students to examine the relationship between rights and responsibilities, conflict and compromise, and the reciprocal relationship between domestic policy and foreign affairs and American history and international human rights Benson, Parent Teacher Associations were part of the official school structure in Liberia. The support of solid family-school linkages has been increasingly and widely viewed as an indispensable component of strategies to improve students' educational outcomes.

The membership of the Association has been such that they are members during the time their children are enrolled in the school. As new students were admitted to the school, new parents generally were inducted into the Parent Association.

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However, although it was a relevant strategy, it was a real challenged to create this Association since most of parents were illiterate and teachers not properly trained in how to manage the committees. As a result, Parents were often unable to function according to their purpose to improve and lead the development of the schools. Besides, as active members were leaving the Association as their children were also leaving the school, the Parents left with a human resource gap. It was therefore, "recommended by the government that parents who were active members were asked to attend to more few meetings in which there were new members so that there could be smooth transfer of knowledge and also of responsibilities.

This could be done through active involvement of the principal who could keep track of such parents" IBIS Education for Development, , p. However, offer great potential for community engagement, and it is "believed that involving parents directly to collaborate with teachers in the running of their children's schools can greatly improve the quality of education. Ensuring that teachers have the capacity to undertake reconciliation education is an enormous challenge. The conflict reduced the pool of teachers, making it even harder to find those with the skills to teach sensitive new topic.

Teachers themselves are part of the culture and have their own values. The emotional issues surrounding the past conflict make enormous demands on the traditionally technical background of teachers. Addressing conflict and reconciliation, of course, require knowledge of child rights, expertise in pedagogy and skills in facilitating discussion of controversial issues. Teachers are probably the single most important factors in mediating the curriculum and the values it conveys, and any education strategy needed to take account of their central role.

Smith, , pp. In Liberia a significant amount of teachers had no formal teaching qualifications, affecting the quality of their teaching. As a result, too many children left primary school without being able to effectively read or write.


That is why teacher training was another central element to improve the quality of education in Liberia IBIS Education for Development, However, the approach that the Liberia's government gave regarding to teachers, was that the role of the teacher should not be limited to the class room. The teacher was considered an educator who may educate the community at large. Teachers are a vital factor in preserving an appropriate schooling atmosphere. Given the critical role that teachers play in alleviating conflict wounds, it is important to highlight that during times of unrest teachers should receive the recognition and motivation to engender constructive values by providing sufficient training and motivation to stay in their own localities.

It means that government should commit to pay them regularly an adequate salary Save the Children, Agreements with IBIS organization has offered untrained and low-skilled teachers a training course that included how to teach basic reading and writing, and pedagogical methods that engage the children actively in the classroom and, more importantly encouraging dialogue between teacher and student.

Additionally, teachers were also trained in planning in accordance with the national curriculum, so they covered all the mandatory topics of the subject IBIS Education for Development, As part of the teacher training, "the teachers were supported to attain high school diplomas, and then prepared for the admission test to Teacher College so they could become fully trained teachers. This way, they increased the quality of their teaching while becoming certified teachers, eligible to get on the payroll" IBIS Education for Development, , p. Liberia has to cope with large numbers of children and youth who missed out on formal education due to the war, and who are generally over-aged.

In line with its commitment to facilitating this group's school participation and integration into age-appropriate grades in the regular school system, the government greatly expanded the so-called Accelerated Learning Program Its aim was to keep children in school in order to reduce the risk of their recruitment as combatants, and to help in the process of reintegration The Accelerated Learning Program [was] designed to enable children who The goal of [Accelerated Learning was] that students will graduate and go on to There had been huge demand for this program-classrooms were packed.

Creative Associates, in partnership with an all Liberian team, The curriculum focused on civic education and conflict resolution combined with basis literacy and numeracy, but little else in the way of conventional education Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children, , p. Children and youth [worked] and learnt in the shop carpentry, tailoring, tie dye in the morning and attended basic literacy and numeracy classes in the afternoon.

Sierra Leone It left a multitude of scars in the education sector: devastated school infrastructure, severe shortages of teaching materials, overcrowding in many classrooms in safer areas, displacement of teachers and delay in paying their salaries, frequent disruptions of schooling, disorientation and psychological trauma among children, poor learning outcomes, weakened institutional capacity to manage the system, and a serious lack of information and data to plan service provision The World Bank, , p.

In the immediate aftermath of the conflict, Novelli and Smith, , p. Sierra Leone is "endowed with mineral, agricultural and fishing resources, [nonetheless] the majority of the population [relied] on subsistence agriculture and few industries were developed" Skuce, , p. There was a willingness to promote a series of eco-curriculum models to take a positive advantage of their resources.

Initially the environmental education was informal, mainly aimed at awareness-building through the media and community activities. Shortly after, the environment project was introduced to the formal education system where. In a nation where life expectancy is so low, the link between environment and health is also extremely relevant. Each of the modules addresses a specific aspect of the environment such as biodiversity, food security or pollution.

There were attempts to bring international issues to local level and local issues to an international scale. For example, Sierra Leone itself releases few greenhouse gases due to its lack of industry and few automobiles but increasingly it is deforested and is obviously affected by climate change as a coastal country" Skuce, , pp.

Taking into account this context, and the fact that the cause of environmental degradation in Sierra Leone is diamonds, the government implemented the Technical Vocational Education and Training program. The objective was to promote the mining industry as the most important sector in the region, and to providing employment opportunities for many people GIZ, The Memory Project was a voluntary avenue for those who desire the opportunity and feel ready to share their stories.

The project's mission was both: a healing mechanism and a cultural imperative to confront and learn from the past. As uncomfortable as past deeds may be, they constitute an important aspect in any archival institution and form a major component of society's culture and history Kargbo, Moreover, the growing trend towards restorative justice In the West African tradition, the responsibility of transmitting history from one generation to another rested with storytellers - griots.

These devoted storytellers conveyed in great lyrical details the traumatic experiences. People gathered in town squares to listen to the stories of lone warriors who survived major atrocities in war. Sierra Leoneans believed that these stories were told so that communities might re-examine their past choices and properly evaluate their future decisions, bearing in mind past errors of judgment.


"It's Nature, Not a Crime"

Societies lamented and empathized with people like lone warriors and took actions to ameliorate their condition by, for example, offering them wives, making them chiefs, or providing them with land or seeds to give them a fresh start in the community. Kaifala, , p. In Sierra Leone explorations of issues related to oral traditions was and is a basic element in getting people with all background to recognize the extend and value of their own knowledge and it gave them the self-assurance and foundations for further learning about living in community Kargbo, The concept of oral history was not a novel idea in Sierra Leonean society where historical knowledge has always been passed on from one generation to another.

The idea of an oral history project that provided a forum for survivors of the civil war to voluntarily share their stories both as a tool for individual healing and collective national dialogue appeared to many as a deliberate attempt to reignite past traumatic experiences. It [was] interesting to note that even though some of those who raised concerns about opening "old wounds" were themselves survivors, they were not direct victims or perpetrators. And it was disconcerting that some people, mostly those occupying high offices in the country, were speaking for the rest of society.

None of the victims or perpetrators that were consulted showed grave fears of opening "old wounds". In fact, they expressed gratitude for the opportunity to share their stories with what was rapidly becoming a Sierra Leonean society indifferent to the visible scars of the past. Kaifala, , pp. One of the greatest aspects of oral history [was] that it is usually separate from the formal involvement of government. However, government as the trustee of the social contract was sometimes needed for the implementation of community recommendations following constructive dialogues generated by oral history in the aftermath of harrowing experiences.

Ultimately, in order for communities to heal after shattering experiences, stories of their individual experiences, no matter how terrible must be told. The sharing of stories reveals connections and similarities despite societal differences and allows communities to focus on their common humanity and experience Kaifala, , p.

The present was aimed at children and youth to complete a number of years of education in a shorter time period. It was designed for children from 10 to 16 who never attended primary school or whose primary school years were interrupted by the conflict. The programmes condense the primary cycle of six years into three years. In theory with these programs children were able to "catch up" in years of school so that they could enter To achieve the objective to support children to complete the number of years of education required in a short time, the curriculum was summarized by dropping non-core subjects such as art, sport and music and eliminating repetition and revision time for the core subjects.

Schools focused on teaching the necessary subjects necessary to pass the national primary examination, namely: language, arts, mathematics, social studies and integrated science, and English, verbal aptitude, quantitative aptitude.

Nonetheless, it was provided non-core subjects that were the "carriers" for "alternative" topics -for example, hygiene, peace education, environment, and sexual and reproductive health Baxter and Bethke, ; The World Bank, The aim of peace education in Sierra Leone was to enrich, deepen and contextualize students' thinking about the concept of peace. The lesson to be learnt was not only the content of the concept but it was also to enact and implement the methodology of peace. Given that peace was active and participatory, the pedagogy of peace education was crucially important Bretherton, Weston and Zbar , While texts were important, the peace education curriculum also used role-playing, games and collaborative learning projects.

Group's activities provided opportunities to learn about negotiation, co-operation and teamwork" Bretherton et al. If educators tried to transmit culture across this gap, then education itself contributed to the widening of the gap between rhetoric and representation and reality. It was not optional that the teacher tried to convey a peace culture without some practice. The teacher was important as a model of peaceful behaviour and his or her relationship with students was a powerful aspect of the learning process.

Through enacting the values of peace in the relationship with the teacher, the students could experience an "actual culture of peace". For example, teachers could draw out observations about role-playing, encourage the exploration of different viewpoints through role reversals, and challenge the children to formulate different endings or ask judicious questions about the feelings of other characters.

It was often in the de-briefing of the activity and the ensuing discussion that the full meaning and relevance of concepts could be realized Bretherton et al. As well as using active learning methods, the teacher needed to be effective in managing the emotional climate. An important issue for teachers was the extent to which war, trauma, injury and weapons were discussed. An unrealistic denial of the darker side of life will endanger the credibility of the programme. However, special sensitivity was needed to ensure that material was appropriate to the age of the children.

For instance, when peace education was introduced into Australian schools in the s, there were doubts about the ethics of discussing war and violence with children. However, this concern was based on the assumption that children could be sheltered from knowledge. It has taken time for most people accept the fact that information about war and violence was readily available to young children through television. Furthermore, many children around the world knew about armed conflict from direct experience. Even in communities at peace, the movement of refugees around the world increased the probability that children will learn from other children who have had direct experience.

Thus, talking about war and conflict could be seen not as an introduction to war and violence, but rather as a chance to discuss, clarify and correct what is already known. Discussion with adults could mitigate the harmful effects of viewing violence. Dealing with trauma was thus a core issue in any peace education programme in Sierra Leone Bretherton et al. Peace was, of course, always understood as relationships between people. When peace education was to be implemented there was a need to work on building positive relationships which encourage co-operation between people and deal with difference and conflict in non-violent ways.

School could contribute to this both by becoming more peaceful places themselves, and by playing an active role in modelling and promoting peace in their local communities. With this in mind, the kit contained a section specifically dedicated to whole-school and community activities, which could help to generate peaceful and positive relations within the school, between the school and the community, and within the community as a whole.

The school-based units focused on the four areas of: behaviour and discipline, based on a logical-consequences approach which relates directly to the behaviour exhibited, whose values were known by everyone in advance and were respectful of the child and others involved; examining all subjects as a means of engaging more teachers in the process and ensuring that their approaches and messages were consistent with building a more peaceful Sierra Leone; promoting students participation at school, both within classrooms and at a broader level, including through the creation of representative student councils; and the adoption of appropriate teaching techniques, which involved students and invite other to participate.

Liberia - Battle For The Capital

A range of ideas is advanced to connect the school to its community and the community to the school Bretherton et al. South Africa's history was blemished by racial discrimination and political violence Bray and Joubert, In the Apartheid era, "it [was] established that access to education was often a status reward that was distributed differentially, [on the basis of ethnicity], and that education could be a mechanism of social control" Johnson, , p.

Liberians attach great importance to education, but the basic education system continues to fail children due to access and quality issues. The resulting migration puts girls particularly at risk.

World Report World Report Liberia | Human Rights Watch

Of the 20, disabled children recorded in the census, only 7, children with significant disabilities are in school. Liberia is likely to meet the Millennium Development Goal 1 hunger target and Goal 3 empowerment of women. The country is unlikely to achieve the poverty target of Goal 1 or Goal 2 primary education , Goal 5 maternal health or Goal 7 ensure environmental sustainability. Email this article. Situation of children and women in Liberia Situation of children and women in Liberia. Studies, reports and publications. Overview Situation of children and women in Liberia Situation of children and women in Liberia.

The consultation provided a unique opportunity for identification of challenges and NGOs capacity building. During the two-day workshop, the main challenges of Liberia in the implementation of the ICCPR were identified and should serve as a basis for the drafting of the civil society shadow report. These challenges include, inter alia:. For two days, human rights defenders in Liberia were grouped to participate in a workshop organized by the Centre.