Education is an unaffordable, luxury asset. Those who cannot pay cannot access training opportunities, and are left trapped in a cycle of poverty. Public schools are massively overcrowded with class sizes sometimes exceeding 100 students, and learning levels are correspondingly low.
This is what our Swiss partner organization, the "Liberia Renaissance Foundation", recognized when setting up a pre-school and elementary school near the capital of Monrovia in 2008 to serve up to 200 seriously disadvantaged children. There, students across seven classes are professionally taught by Liberian teachers according to European standards. All students receive a warm meal each day – for many their only one. Tuition fees are for the most part borne by the foundation.
As their students grew, so did the need to provide additional educational opportunities and find more space. In 2015 this was partially achieved; a new three-classroom wing was constructed and enrolment increased to 350 students from nursery to 12th grade (ages four to 20).
Still, teaching space remains in short supply, and despite improvising with wooden divider walls and transforming the former library into a classroom, an additional wing for the high school is still needed. Construction on this has already commenced. Soon their first graduates will be eligible to attend university.
The Liberia Renaissance Education Complex was one of the first schools in the country to operate as a public-private partnership. It is regarded as one of the best schools in the whole of Liberia, and the Liberian government has recently moved to replicate the model with other partners throughout the country. In addition to standard academic instruction, the school also offers basic vocational training to all high-school students.