A school classroom in Liberia

Improving educational attainment in Liberia

Since 2017, we’ve been supporting the Liberian Ministry of Education, service delivery partners and philanthropic funders to successfully deliver the Liberian Educational Advancement Program (LEAP).

LEAP is a government partnership that supports the delivery of quality, fee-free education in public schools throughout Liberia from early childhood education through to Grade 6. LEAP was launched in 2016 by the Government of Liberia to test whether non-state support to public schools could accelerate learning and strengthen the government’s ability to deliver quality education.

Social Finance has been acting as the Grant Administrator for LEAP since 2017/18.

Why are we doing this?

14 years of civil war followed by the Ebola crisis in 2013/14 had left Liberia’s public primary education system facing significant challenges:

  • Less than 20% of Liberia’s primary schools had solid physical structures.
  • Less than 40% of children attended primary school.
  • Only 20% of girls in Grade 5 could read a single sentence.

LEAP presents an opportunity to support and complement the ongoing efforts to improve public school education across Liberia.

schools supported by LEAP partners 
students enrolled in LEAP supported schools 
of surveyed LEAP schools said access to education had improved for all students and communities 
We are seeing a lot of improvement in our children; they can now read, write and do their own homework.

Parent, Cecilia Dunbar School, Montserrado County 

What are we doing?

Social Finance has been acting as the Grant Administrator for the LEAP since 2017/18 to support the successful delivery of the program. In this role, we provide:

  • On-going grant and consultant management.
  • Bi-annual data analysis, reporting and capacity building support to LEAP partners.
  • Support to transition the program to a more sustainable funding model and embedding of the programme within the Ministry of Education’s wider education strategy.

Impact and insights

Scaling support

Since 2016, LEAP has increased its support from 46 schools to 487 schools across all of Liberia’s 15 counties.

Additional classroom time

LEAP schools were the first in the country to teach a full school day. This has now been extended to all Liberian schools, enabling more learning time.

Improved pupil learning outcomes

The results from a randomised control trial (RCT) conducted in 2019 showed that public schools supported by LEAP partners deliver measurable learning gains.

Cost-effectiveness and replicability

LEAP has demonstrated significant cost reductions through scaling, offering a replicable model.

Better administration

The program has highlighted some of the challenges of getting teachers onto the main government payroll, catalysing reforms to improve the Government’s educational payroll system.

Comprehensive training

LEAP partners conduct extensive training, improving Liberia’s educational workforce. Training has been offered to staff in LEAP and non-LEAP schools, helping to improve the broader education system in Liberia.

Sustainable partnership with government

In 2022, LEAP joined Liberia’s Local Education Group, was included in the government’s Education sector plan 2022–2027 and secured commitment from the Government of Liberia to continue the school-support model for an additional five years.

Related work

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