The Results of Liberia’s Experiment to Outsource Education Are In
By Jenny Anderson
In 2016, reeling from a devastating Ebola outbreak and still dealing with the legacy of civil war, the Liberian government announced a dramatic experiment to improve its education system. The Partnership Schools for Liberia (PSL), now called the Liberian Education Advancement Partnership (LEAP), handed the operation of 93 public schools to a group of eight private organizations, including a mix of both for-profit companies and non-profit charities, as well as local and international organizations. The schools would remain free to kids and use government teachers, but the experiment would test whether a change in management improved the abysmal state of the country’s education system.
Notably, the government agreed to run a three-year randomized control trial, administered by the Center for Global Development (CGD) and Innovations for Poverty Action. The CGD just published its report, looking at learning gains, access, safety, and sustainability (that is, cost) over the three-year period.
Photo courtesy of Global Partnership for Education (GPE).