This post was previously published on The CIHA Blog, where I am an editorial assistant.
For a number of years, reports of corruption in Liberia’s education system, reaching all the way to the Ministry of Education, have been numerous, and the country’s president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, has called for a reform of the education system.
But now, the Liberian government has decided to outsource its entire primary and early childhood education programs to a private company, Bridge Academies, which has been backed by Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates. As reported in The News of Liberia, Kishore Singh, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the right to education, stated, “This is unprecedented at the scale currently being proposed and violates Liberia’s legal and moral obligations."
The company already runs education projects in Kenya and Uganda, where lessons are provided on mobile phones, reports Front Page Africa, so that “the teacher does not have to be sophisticated to teach.” Following on previous posts on The CIHA Blog discussing “effective altruism,” paternalistic interventions in education, and attempts to innovate out of poverty, this is yet another example of how problems on the local and national levels in many African countries can set the stage for philanthrocapitalist innovations/interventions that do not address the root causes of the problems.
“Don’t Outsource Primary Education System”
The News of Liberia
“Education Minister Negotiates Public–Private Partnership Deal”
Front Page Africa
“An Africa first! Liberia outsources entire education system to a private American firm. Why all should pay attention”
by Christine Mungai for Mail & Guardian Africa
Travel and research notes
Fieldwork and travel in Côte d'Ivoire, Senegal, Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Mali, as well as Burkina Faso, Morocco, Tanzania, South Africa, and wherever else I end up. Plus occasional research-related thoughts.