Over 4,450 schools to receive kits, benefiting more than 700,000 children and 44,000 teachers
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12 June 2015 – This week, several hundred students and teachers in Montserrado County began receiving the first of over 700,000 learning kits that are being distributed to schools across Liberia. The kits, which will be distributed across the country over the next twelve weeks, will help students continue educational activity.
Unicef, with funding from the US Agency for International Development (USAID), purchased the learning materials for 4,460 schools. Unicef is packing the 700,000 kits, and is working with Liberia’s Ministry of Education to distribute these materials to schools across the country.
The kits contain notebooks, school bags, chalk, geometry sets and other educational supplies children require during the school year. A lack of funds to purchase basic educational items keeps children away from school every year. This was compounded by the recent Ebola outbreak and its impact on the economy of Liberia.
“The education of over one million children was affected by the closure of schools during the Ebola outbreak in Liberia. With the support of USAID, we initially provided infection prevention and control kits so schools could be opened safely, and now that they have, we are providing these materials to ensure children get the most out of their time in classrooms,” says Sheldon Yett, Unicef’s Representative in Liberia.
The learning kits contain chalk, chalkboard erasers, poster sheets, permanent markers, folders, registration and enrolment books, attendance registers, and lesson plan books. Students are also being provided with school bags, pencils, erasers, sharpeners, rulers, notebooks and geometry sets.
“Every child in Liberia needs to have an equal opportunity to education. Our goal is to create an enabling environment for children to go to school, engage in educational activity, and realize their full potential,” said Hon. George K. Werner, Liberia’s Minister of Education. “This is part of that process, and we are grateful to USAID and Unicef for providing this crucial assistance that will enhance the quality of teaching and learning in our schools.”
In February 2015, Unicef and USAID provided over 7,000 infection prevention and control kits to over 4, 500 schools across Liberia. The kits included buckets, soap, chlorine and cleaning items to help schools reduce the risk of transmission of Ebola. Over 800,000 children have returned to school since their reopening in February.
The Liberia Out of School Children study in 2012 revealed that there were 572,000 children of school going age out of school and over 400,000 at the risk of dropping out. More than 30% of children who start grade one do not complete the primary school cycle. According to the 2014 education information management system (EMIS), the net enrolment rate in Liberia is only 27%.
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