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Liberian Education Advancement Program (LEAP)

LEAP is a public-private partnership with the goal to improve the Liberian education system

Facts

 Investee Liberian Education Advancement Program (LEAP)
 Location  Liberia
 Sector  Education
 Funding Start  2017
 Funding type  Grant
 On the web:  Announcement

Impact

Context

(Situation in 2016, prior to LEAP start)

  • Education in Liberia was shattered by 14 years of civil conflict, with 80% of school infrastructure destroyed, leaving only 20% of schools as solid structures
  • The Ebola epidemic further aggravated the crisis and led to a situation where less than 40% of children are in primary school and more than 80% of schoolchildren are too old for the grade they are in
  • Only 1 out of 5 girls at grade 5 can read a single sentence

Solution

  • The Ministry of Education recognized the gravity of the situation and set up the “Liberian Education Advancement Program” (LEAP), a public-private partnership
  • LEAP is a unique multi-operator partnership model: a number of government schools were selected to be run by 7 non-state school operators with a proven track record of delivering high-quality education
  • LEAP schools remain public schools, free of tuition fees and ran by government teachers
  • The model builds on evidenced interventions to promote optimal learning and increases teaching and management capacity at government schools
  • With the intention to increase the per pupil spend from USD 50 to USD 100 p.a. over the coming years, LEAP aims to provide rigid evidence which interventions have the best cost/benefit ration with regards to learning outcomes
  • A rigid independent evaluation of LEAP’s impact on educational outcomes allows the government to make informed decisions with regards to future education policy design
  • LEAP was designed to be carried out in a phased approach over 3 years (2016-2019) with funding from philanthropic donors, and government covering teacher salaries

Impact depth

A randomized control trial was conducted to evaluate performance of the program in 2019. Among the well-performing operators, students progressed about twice as fast as children in comparable government schools. Overall, LEAP achieved the following impact: 

  • By year three, 1,542 teachers in 194 schools were educating ~50,451 children in all 15 counties of Liberia
  • LEAP increased trust by teachers, school officials and parents in the government’s ability to provide quality services
  • LEAP schools reported a significant increase in attendance from students and teachers in comparison to regular public schools
  • 90% of surveyed LEAP schools said access to education had improved for all students and communities
  • LEAP has generated systemic impact across the education system: e.g. teaching full school days, employing new teachers while removing ghost teachers from payroll, school monitoring visits, intensified teacher training

SDGs

By investing in LEAP, we align with and contribute to two of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.