Benjamin's Story

Last week at the Investing in Education for the Future conference in Monrovia, Liberia, I had the opportunity to speak about our work under the Partnership Schools for Liberia initiative.

 Benjamin Clarke. Principal, Sumo Town Public School

Benjamin Clarke. Principal, Sumo Town Public School

I chose to focus on the story of Benjamin Clarke (pictured right), the inspiring Principal of our school in Sumo Town, to illustrate the impact that PSL is having.

Here was the key bit of the speech:

When Benjamin took over as Principal in 2014 he inherited a school with just 1 payroll teacher and a part-time volunteer who could barely read. Even on a good day he had to teach 4 grades himself, as well as do all the admin, and the bad days outweighed the good. If he was sick or called away to a meeting, the school just didn’t operate.

Today, thanks to Partnership Schools, Benjamin has a qualified teacher in every classroom. He has a Master Teacher trained to observe lessons and give his teachers real-time feedback. His staff receive daily lesson plans with a focus on phonics and numeracy, and are trained in simple techniques that help them deliver more engaging lessons. And instead of being monitored almost never, he sees our team every week, and takes pride in showing them what is happening under his leadership.

I asked Benjamin if I could share his story with you tonight because I think it’s a reminder that for Partnership Schools to succeed it doesn't just need to correct the weaknesses in the Liberian education system, it needs to build on its strengths.

Check out the video for the full speech (5 mins).

Benjamin himself came along to the final day of the conference to share his experience of Partnership Schools with the delegates directly.