Updated: Jun 28, 2019
Following nearly four months of filming across two counties (Montserrado and Bong), iCampus held its third film festival on February 13. In the midst of multiple challenges that continue to undermine the performance of the Liberian educational system, the iCampus film festival is intended to identify common issues through a documentary series that included three short films produced to appeal to local decision-makers in government, civil society and other partners.
The films highlighted issues that the Liberian government and its partners need to address if the sector is to progress beyond its present level. A huge number of girls being out of school, coupled with an institutional breakdown, little obedience to education laws and low state budgets were reflected in the films as hindrances that affect the attainment of quality education for Liberian students. Watch the full series of all three films on iCampus’ Youtube channel here.
Starting off with formal speeches and guest presentation by Dominic D.N. Kweme (Ministry of Education’s Assistant Minister for Research and Planning), and representatives from USAID/DAI, Accountability Lab Liberia, iLab Liberia, and the iCampus community, the event was well attended by over sixty guests representing the news media, creative industries, government agencies and staff members from iCampus and its member-organizations.
Through simple and straightforward illustrations, the assistant minister addressed a group of anxious participants eager to learn about the measures that the government of Liberia is employing to address some of the broader challenges highlighted by the films.
In an earlier statement, the minister said that the film festival, which was a complementary component of the USAID LAVI campaign to foster advocacy for increased budgets and policy reform, was giving a necessary voice to the Ministry’s efforts around citizen engagement and education.
Despite several efforts by the Ministry of Education to build up the standard of the system, it is impossible to achieve intended outcomes without the required funding. Compared to Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone and Guinea, Liberia is ranked low among countries in West Africa with a low education budget. Just 13% of the total government budget is invested in the education sector annually.
The Ministry of Education and several other line ministries went on a tour earlier this year to assess if counties’ pro-poor agenda is progressing as intended within the different sectors of the country. Among other issues, the exercise looked into what priority sectors need more funding and why. The Ministry of Education and its development partners identified that in order for the education sector to boom, at least 20% of the national fiscal budget needs to be invested in education annually. During an inaugural speech, the president of Liberia also expressed his willingness to fully support the sector and ensure every Liberian benefits from the right to an education.
“I am delighted to be representing the Liberian government and even more excited to be sharing with you its willingness to improve the sector,” said Dominic D.N. Kweme, the Ministry of Education’s Assistant Minister for Research and Planning.