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Home Project Overview

BACKGROUND

The education sector represents an important element for the transformative change required for effective governance in Liberia after years of conflict.  The infrastructural and intellectual breakdown of this sector has attracted interests, as it remains shackled by lack of accountability and corruption – particularly in the area of procurement and contracts.  The desire to improve accountability and transparency in the education section has necessitated the implementation of the various projects around educational issues: 

The Coalition for Transparency and Accountability in Education (COTAE) currently comprised of five organizations: The Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL), Liberia Economic Journalists Association (LEJA), Federation of Liberian Youths (FLY), Child Steps International, and AIESEC Liberia.

COTAE I

COTAE first project called COTAE I focused on “Monitoring Procurement and Contract Transparency in Education.” The project was sponsored by the Open Society for West Africa (OSIWA), and sought to monitor and access procurement and contracting regimes in the educational sector; and sensitize and educate beneficiaries of goods and services so that they receive maximize value for public funds. In addition, the project will provided recommendations to the Government of Liberia and other stakeholders to reform public procurement system within the education sector.  Organizations involved in the implementation of COTAE I included: The Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL), Liberia Education for All Technical Committee (LETCOM), Liberia Economic Journalists Association (LEJA), Federation of Liberian Youths (FLY), and Liberia Institute of Certified Public Accountants (LICPA).

SPECIFIC OBJECTIVE OF THE PROJECT

ϖ    To build the capacity of key stakeholders to undertake the pre and post review of contracts and procurement activities in at the national and sub-national levels;

ϖ    To facilitate the monitoring of’ targeted procurement processes in the education sector by the members of the Coalition through work with the PPCC and other stakeholders;

ϖ    To help strengthen the regulatory framework through documentation of best and bad practices in public procurement in the education sector 

ϖ    To undertake public awareness campaigns to increase participation and public understanding about the vulnerability of public procurement practices and its impact on development and poverty reduction;

ϖ    To prompt the government through the PPCC to take appropriate actions – including prosecuting and blacklisting of companies and individuals that do not comply with the public procurement law and regulations;

ϖ    To advocate for reforms based on the recommendations for improvement from the monitoring process.


Why is it important for Civil Society to monitor?

National budgeting process is critical in the allocation of revenue accrued from taxes and other income generating sources.  The budget execution process is critical, but even more important is other steps that involve the expending of funds through the procurement and contracting of goods and services.  Citizens and civil society in particular is interested in determining whether funds budgeted or contributed external sources were disbursed in a process that follows agreed plans and procedures.  Were funds allocated to schools and educational programs actually used to finance planned activities – or were they diverted to the benefit of national and local officials? Citizens and civil society should also be interested in measuring the impact of spending on education.  Was expenditures targeted to purchases and services that provided the greatest value?  Liberia allocates substantial portion of its budget to education. In 2008/09 22.6m was allocated and increased to 26.9m in 2009/10 and reduced to 25.5m and increased in 2010/11 to 30.1m.  Despite these significant allocations and the contribution of multilateral, bilateral and other non-governmental agencies, the education system still require substantial overhaul and insight into effective utilization of its budgeted and contributed resources. 

The effective allocation, utilization and ultimate accountability for resources require that education officials exhibit the willingness to follow agreed procurement guidelines and act in the national interest as opposed to parochial interest that undermine the quality of education.  The role of administrators and teachers in ensuring that as key bridges to students, they do not compromise or dilute the standard required for impaction of sound education is important.  Parents and students who are direct beneficiaries have to participate in school activities and speak out when standards are compromised.  Collective will from all stakeholders is critical for the advancement of education. 

Reasons for Monitoring

¬    To determine the effectiveness of the Procurement Committee & Procurement Unit of the Ministry of Education
¬    To strengthen and improve economic response and accountability
¬    To improve service delivery in schools
¬    To promote successful interventions against bad procurement practices
¬    To improve the value for money of goods and services procured
¬    To assess all stakeholders’ willingness to ensure that government’s expenditure policies are followed (public and private collaboration)
¬    To expose corruption in education
For a successful monitoring of procurement, the monitors must understand national procurement laws and be in the position to determine compliance or diversions that point to corruption.  Knowledge and access to the procurement plans of the Ministry of Education is important to this respect.

 
How to improve the Education System of Liberia: