News (68)

The Coalition for Transparency and Accountability in Education (COTAE) is concerned over discrepancies in compliance with guidelines by re-opened schools amid increasing cases of COVID-19 in Liberia. It can be recalled that the Ministry of Education (MoE) on June 19th released “Guidelines for Safe School Environments in the Corona Virus (COVID-19) Outbreak in Liberia” to guide the re-opening of schools in Liberia, and to be observed by school administrators, teachers, students, staff etc.. According to the Ministry, the guidelines are intended to ensure safe school environments in the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in Liberia as it defines the minimum requirements that must be in place in every school (Public and Private) to ensure that, from a health, water, sanitation and hygiene point of view, the school is a safe place for all students and school personnel. The guidelines cover hand washing facilities, Water sanitation and hygiene, general health, cleaning and eating and drinking practices. While COTAE applauds the government for its continuous effort in the fight, we seize this opportunity to re-emphasize the importance of having schools as safe places during this pandemic.  

Between July 1-3, 2020, COTAE embarked on monitoring of schools within Montserrado to gauge compliance with guidelines issued by MoE. Our team of data collectors visited thirty-nine (39) schools in Gardnersville, Du-port Road, Old Road, Brewerville, Sinkor, Duala, etc. using a checklist approved by the MoE for data collection. Data gathered reveals that while there are substantial efforts being applied by both schools’ administrators and students to adhere to the guidelines, there are still gaps that need to be addressed. We note that all schools visited have hand washing stations installed at their entrances. However, discrepancies exist regarding classroom spacing, masks wearing, handwashing at bathrooms, and referral systems. 72% of schools surveyed were compliant with wearing of nose masks, while 28% were not. 33.3% of schools did not observe one-meter spacing in classrooms, while 64% of schools had at least two thermoflashes. Also, only 54% of schools surveyed had a functioning hand washing station at their bathrooms. As for referral system, only 46% of schools surveyed had agreed a system of referral with the County Health Team for likely cases of COVID-19.  

From the above excerpt of data collected, it is clear that more needs to be done to ensure compliance with safety guidelines. COTAE therefore calls on government, through the Ministry of Education,  to ensure that all health protocols are fully adhered to by all schools through a rigorous supervision process. The roles of  school administrations, Parent-Teachers Associations, and civil society organizations are also significant in this regard and we call on these stakeholders to join efforts to keep learning spaces safe. This will ensure that a concerted effort is being made to protect students and school administrators in their return to the classroom. Given the spike in confirmed cases to Nine hundred and Twenty-Six (926) and a death toll of forty-one (41), the importance of instituting and supervising safety measures for students and administrators against this deadly disease cannot be overly emphasized.

We are also encouraging heads of academic institutions to ensure they put into place monitoring mechanisms on students aimed at ensuring they conform to the prescribed health protocols. Students also have a role to play in ensuring that they keep safe and compliant with the guidelines. We remain optimistic that this call will be heeded by all concerned as we fight COVID-19 in Liberia.

Thank you!



The Coalition for Transparency and Accountability in Education (COTAE) is deeply concerned about the fate of the Education Sector, especially the inadequacy of resources that continues to undermine the quality, adequacy and accessibility, and gender sensitivity of educational services in Liberia. As you may be aware, Education is a fundamental human right, guaranteed by Article 6 of the 1986 Liberian Constitution, Sustainable Development Goal 4, the Abidjan Principles and other global, regional and national frameworks and policies. Such right cannot be downplayed by any nation, especially impoverished country like Liberia in urgent need of the required human capital to develop, fully implement and sustain its transformative agenda.

We wish to thank the Government of Liberia for steady progress towards increasing national budgetary support to education. Over the last two budget years, the allocation for education has increased, especially by 1 percent from 13.7 percent in fiscal year 2017/2018 to 14.7 percent in 2018/2019, as well as another percentage increment for fiscal year 2019/2020 representing 15.8%. Thanks to concerted efforts by the More 4 Education Campaign[1], funded by USAID through the Liberia Accountability and Voice Initiative; the Ministry of Education; Legislature, and other critical partners and stakeholders that made this possible.

Nevertheless, there’s not much to celebrate as Government’s support to education in Liberia lags far behind regional counterparts. A research conducted by COTAE in 2018 discovered that Sierra Leone allocated 27% to education, while Ghana and Senegal appropriated 35% of their budgets to education respectively. Besides, the actual education budget for fiscal year 2019/20 suffered an 8% decrease from US$570.14 million in FY 2018/19 to US$525.91 million in FY 2019/20. In other words, the percentage increment for education to 15.8% amounts to US$83.4 million, a US$1.9 million decline when compared to the US$85.3 million allocation for FY 2018/2019.

All of these are happening when the education sector is faced with numerous challenges due to low financing. The challenges have even been exacerbated by COVID-19, which has left schools closed for a protracted period and needing repair, fumigation, and other efforts to secure them for learning upon resumption of full academic activities. These add to existing challenges, including but not limited to lack of adequate learning facilities and supplies; shortage of trained and motivated teachers; lack of gender sensitive and responsive services; and limited opportunities to enroll and retain girls and persons with special needs in school.

Transforming education in Liberia, in part through addressing corruption and waste, decentralizing decision making and empowering local level structures; and addressing the plights of teachers, students and other educational workers requires timely, collective and well-coordinated efforts. The COVID-19 outbreak has heightened the need for keen attention to the education sector, given its critical role in keeping students and teachers engaged in academic and other productive activities, especially during emergencies. With the increasing gravitation towards online education, which has become apparent due to social distancing, restriction on movement, and other relevant health protocols announced by the government, the Ministry of Education needs to devise appropriate means to keep all students engaged. While the teaching by Radio Program introduced by the Ministry and partners somehow helped to keep students engaged, the quality and coverage left more to be desired. Among other things, the program was limited in scope and coverage, as remote areas were not adequately covered. This means that students without radio and those in rural areas still do not have access to education during this period, which is gross violation of their rights to education.

As the 2020/2021 national budget is being developed, we reiterate call for the Government of Liberia, especially the Executive and Legislature to honor their obligations to increase budgetary support to education to at least 20%. This will not only meet the minimum 20% benchmark/commitment required by the Global Partnership for Education, Incheon Declaration of 2015 and other global frameworks, but enable MOE, the National Commission on Higher Education and other key players to address enormous existing challenges, which have been compounded by the emergence of COVID-19. There is no better time to substantially invest in education than now when COVID-19 has exposed the weaknesses of the system, especially its inability to continue with academic and other productive activities during emergency.

Government must honor its commitment to satisfactorily fund and fulfil the right to education of its citizens, in line with Article 6 of the 1986 Liberian Constitution, Pillar One (Power to the People) of the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD), and adopted international instruments such as the UN Convention on the Right of the Child (UNCRC), Incheon Declaration of 2015, Dakar Framework of 2000, Sustainable Development Goal 4, and Abidjan Principles of 2019.

Thank you.

Signed: Management


[1] The More 4 Education Coalition is funded by USAID LAVI and is comprised of the Coalition for Transparency and Accountability in Education (COTAE), Youth Coalition for Education in Liberia (YOCEL), National Teachers Association of Liberia (NTAL), Inclusive Development Initiative (IDI), National PTA Network of Liberia (NAPTANOL), Helping Our People Excel (HOPE) and Youth Movement for Collective Action (UMovement).

Monrovia, Friday, June 26, 2020


The Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL); Institute for Research and Democratic Development (IREDD); Naymote Partners for Democratic Development (NAYMOTE-Liberia); and Accountability Lab Liberia Strongly Condemn the Thursday, June 25, 2020 violent demonstration in the Sinkor area, especially setting up of unauthorized road blocks and burning of car tires by unscrupulous individuals allegedly associated with the Council of Patriots (COP), organizer of the June 7, 2019 protest in Monrovia.

We are appalled by this unwholesome act of violence, as such action has the propensity to undermine Liberia’s peace and instill fear in citizens and development partners as well as create a sense of insecurity. While we recognize the rights of individuals or groups to protest and or voice out their frustration (s) about any happenings in the country, they must do so civilly and legally.  We call on the Ministry of Justice and Liberian National Police to timely investigate the matter and prosecute those who masterminded and executed the Violence.

By the same token, we like to strongly condemn misjudged statement by the Mayor of the City of Monrovia, Mr. Jefferson Kojee that he will form a Citizens Action Unit (CAU) that will serve as first responder to violent demonstrations/protests in the city of Monrovia. Such statement is unwarranted, counterproductive to Liberia’s peace and undermines the roles of the Liberian National Police and other state security apparatuses in the country. We urge Mr. Kojee to desist from making such utterances as it equally tends to ferment violence and jeopardize the peace of the country.

Finally, we encourage all Liberians to jealously protect the Peace, as any violence and instability will worsen the already difficult economic condition of the Country.


Lawrence Yealue                                                                   Anderson Miamen

Country Representative , Accountability Lab Liberia    Executive Director, CENTAL


Harold Marvin Aidoo, Sr.                                                  Eddie D. Jarwolo

Executive Director, IREDD                                               Executive Director, NAYMOTE

Press Statement for Immediate Release


Monrovia, June 23, 2020

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press, Fellow Liberians!

The Coalition for Transparency and Accountability in Education (COTAE) is alarmed over the spike in COVID-19 infections in the country and calls on the Government to take prompt and adequate measures to to curb the spread of the disease. With Six hundred and Fifty (650) confirmed cases and thirty-four (34) deaths, the importance of safeguarding against this deadly disease cannot be overly emphasized. Liberia cannot afford to once again endure a scourge as we did in 2014 with the Ebola Virus Disease. Our memories are still fresh in respect of how loved ones were taken away, including our frontline medical personnel and healthcare workers. More than 5,900 Liberian children lost one or both parents to Ebola. Some are with a surviving parent, others found loving homes with friends or relatives, but many have been left orphaned on the streets or are finding it tough to adapt to new lives with host families.[1] If care is not taken, we risk losing our precious ones and endangering the future of many, especially our children—a situation we cannot afford.

COTAE recognizes the Government of Liberia’s efforts in extending the State of Emergency (SOE), which ended June 21, 2020, by an additional thirty (30) days so as to “afford the government the opportunity to re-examine its COVID-19 response strategy”. We believe that this is a step in the right direction but urge government to involve civil society and other stakeholders in its response strategy moving forward. Responding to COVID-19 without regard to the Liberian context has proven ineffective so far as the public no longer seem to comply with health protocols and associated restrictions. It is, therefore, imperative that all hands are on deck to collectively fight the disease. Government has its role to play and so is civil society, media and other partners.

An inclusive response, as demanded by civil society from the onset, would have prevented the current surge we are experiencing in communities. Meaningful involvement of all partners would have removed any cloud of suspicion from response efforts and further strengthen approaches, including those related to the feeding program, case tracking, curfew etc.  Also, a broader response would have relied on the expertise, strengths, and unique capacities of each stakeholder including those versed in community entry, social mobilization, awareness creation, transparency and accountability, human rights, etc.

It is, however, not too late the correct the missteps taken earlier on.  The reality of the surge imposes upon all a duty to contribute our resources to put an end to this scourge. In sum, everyone has a role to play and a holistic approach must therefore be properly carved out. With the extension of the SOE, more needs to be done to avert human rights abuses, address accountability concerns, and adequately respond to the attending consequences of the outbreak and SOE on other sectors, especially education.

We, therefore, make the following recommendations: 

  • That civil society organizations be accorded the full respect and given the space to operate. The Leaderships and essential staff of CSOs must be equally allowed to work, as they play vital roles in creating awareness, providing valuable inputs to government as well as independent monitoring and reporting on key trends and decision-making processes around the fight. 
  • That the rights of citizens are fully respected and protected during the fight against COVID-19. Brutality against citizens, especially women, must never be an option. We call on Government to investigate and prosecute any security officers brutalizing citizens during this period. Equally, we call on citizens to respect security officers; refrain from brutalizing them as well full comply with safety measures announced by authorities.
  • That COVID-19 resources be effectively managed and accounted for to the public. All donations and resources received must be timely communicated to the public, in addition to reports of funds already disbursed for various activities and processes. 
  • That government does more to increase citizens’ confidence in its response efforts. From all indications, the current poor state of the fight against COVID-19 and limited citizens’ compliance with health protocols can be attributed to poor coordination, limited citizens’ active involvement in key processes and limited trust resulting from excesses of some key players. For example, having come in contact with key officials declared positive of the virus, the President of Liberia refused to be self-quarantined, in violation of measures announced by authorities.
  • That the Ministry of Education’s plan to reopen school for 12th graders involve a thorough monitoring component that ensures that schools are abiding by all protocols set out in the plan, including full compliance with safety measures announced by authorities

In conclusion, we wish to reiterate calls for all Liberians and residents to fully respect instructions from authorities to protect themselves and others during this period. We must all observe the social distancing rules, wear face masks, and avoid action (s) that undermine the fight against COVID-19, which cannot be won without collaborative and well-coordinated efforts of all concerned: Government, development partners, citizens, civil society and media and other groups in society.

Thank you.



Monday, 08 June 2020 11:15

Joint Press Statement

Written by

Recent media reports and complaints about Bad Labor Practices at Bridge International Academies (BIA) have claimed the attention of the Coalition for Transparency and Accountability in Education (COTAE) and the National Teachers Association of Liberia (NTAL). BIA is a controversial for-profit company and a major actor involved with the outsourcing of public schools under the Liberia Educational Advancement Program (LEAP), formerly Partnership Schools for Liberia (PSL). They have received government funding to run 170 schools as part of LEAP.

Monday, 27 April 2020 14:06

CSOs Issue Third Joint Statement on COVID19 Fight

Written by


Good day ladies and gentlemen of the Press, Fellow Liberians! 

Four leading institutions working on democracy, governance and accountability in Liberia, Institute for Research and Democratic Development (IREDD), Naymote Partners for Democratic Development (NAYMOTE-Liberia), Accountability Lab Liberia and Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL) have been closely monitoring national response efforts against COVID-19, including State of Emergency which was announced by President George Manneh Weah on Wednesday, April 8, 2020.

Thursday, April 9, 2020


Good day ladies and gentlemen of the Press, Fellow Liberians! 

The Institute for Research and Democratic Development (IREDD), Naymote Partners for Democratic Development (NAYMOTE-Liberia), Accountability Lab Liberia and Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL)welcome President George Manneh Weah’s address to the Nation on Wednesday, April 8, 2020, declaring a “State of Emergency”.

Earlier today, CENTAL issued a statement calling on President Weah to, among other things withdraw the nomination of Cllr. Edwin Kla Martin as chairperson designate of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission. Section 6.3 of the 2008 LACC Act provides that "no two Commissioners shall have the same county of origin".

The Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL), has called on the Government of Liberia to establish a “specialized Anti-Corruption Court” to provide direct prosecution power to the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) and fast-track the processing and prosecution of corruption-related cases.

Monday, 03 September 2018 15:32

CENTAL Launches Web Portal on National Budget

Written by

The Liberia Media Development program in collaboration with the Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL) on Tuesday, August 28, 2018, launched a web portal on the national budget with the intent to make the budget accessible to citizens who will be able to track public funds for accountability.

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