Minister Kollie Calls for Renewed Commitment to Children's Education on Day of the African Child

Jun 13, 2024 - 17:26
Jun 13, 2024 - 17:28
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Minister Kollie Calls for Renewed Commitment to Children's Education on Day of the African Child

 

Monrovia, Liberia – The Minister of Gender, Children, and Social Protection, Gbeme Horace Kollie, emphasized the critical need for enhanced efforts towards the education and protection of children in Liberia.

This call to action comes as Liberia joins the global community to commemorate the Day of the African Child (DAC) on June 16, 2024.

The Day of the African Child, an annual event, aims to raise awareness about the challenges facing children across the continent, with this year's theme being "Education For All Children In Africa: the time is now." The theme underscores the urgency of ensuring accessible and inclusive educational opportunities for all children, regardless of their gender or circumstances.

Minister Kollie highlighted the historical significance of the day, which commemorates the tragic events of June 16, 1976, in Soweto, South Africa.

 Hundreds of schoolchildren were massacred while protesting against the inferior quality of their education and demanding the right to be taught in their own language.

This day serves as a stark reminder of the ongoing struggles faced by African children in accessing quality education.

"Despite some progress, Liberia continues to face significant challenges in realizing the right to education for every child".

Minister Kollie cited alarming statistics from UNESCO, revealing that a substantial percentage of Liberian children are out of school, with poverty, gender-based discrimination, violence, conflict, and displacement being major contributing factors.

"The UNESCO’s alarming stats further revealed that 20% of children between 6 and 11, 30% of children between 12 and 14, and 60% of children between 15 and 17 years are out of School" she explained.

According to a 2022 UNICEF survey, there are approximately 126,702 children living on the streets without attending school in Liberia.

The Education Sector Plan 2022/23–2026/27 highlights that many children remain out of school, particularly in underserved areas, with their rights to a quality education unfulfilled. Minister Kollie stressed that over-age enrollment and an unsafe learning environment further hinder children's educational progress.

In observance of the DAC, a series of programs have been organized in collaboration with UNICEF and other partners. Activities began on June 6, 2024, with an interactive visit by children to UNICEF offices, followed by the election of new leadership for the Liberian Children Parliament on June 11. The celebration continues with educational and sports activities, as well as a six-hour appearance by children on ECOWAS Radio.

The official celebration will culminate on June 14, 2024, with a program at the EJS Ministerial Complex, preceded by a parade from the Ministry of Health in Congo Town. Minister Kollie urged all stakeholders to join hands in ensuring that every child in Liberia has access to quality education, healthcare, protection from violence, and a nurturing environment.

 Minister Kollie concluded by extended profound gratitude to all local and international partners, particularly UNICEF and the Child Protection Network (CPN), for their support and coordination in celebrating this year’s Day of the African Child.

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