Street Child welcomes the release of today's evaluation by the Center for Global Development (CGD) and Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) of the first year of the Partnership Schools for Liberia (PSL) program. PSL has been a topic that has generated much commentary and speculation, informed and misinformed, in the past 18 months. This report brings welcome hard facts to the table.
Above all, Street Child is delighted to be classified as one of three operators to have achieved 'statistically significant' learning gains in year one - in particular as our model is predicated on investments and longer-term changes, and so we do not expect the real benefits to emerge until year three.
The report also highlights various challenges. It is right to do so. In a country like Liberia, whose education system has been battered by years of conflict and Ebola, changing the status quo is not easy. The report was designed to provide candid feedback to both operators and the Ministry of Education, and much of that feedback is already being addressed in the second year of the program. Street Child has learned a lot in year one. Year two will be even better.
One of the main issues the report highlights is the long-term affordability and comparative value of the learning gains. While all providers are working towards financial sustainability, Street Child spent only $60 per student (on top of the Ministry of Education budget of $50 per student). Street Child is delighted in year 1 to lead the argument for the case that significant learning gains can be attained at an affordable price.