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Liberia's Educational system
Excerpts from ~ & Pamphlet produced by Liberian National Commission for Unesco, Monrovia

Through the years, the Liberian educational system has suffered decay due to the minimal investment in education, and also the vicious war that ravaged Liberia for more than a decade.

During the Tubman and Tolbert era, despite improvements in educational facilities, increases in their number, and expanded school enrollment, the Liberian educational system at the time of the 1980 coup was marked by significant inadequacies in the quantity and quality of schools, teachers, and educational materials.

In the early 1980s primary education was still far from universal, and secondary education reached only a small proportion of those between 12 and 20 years of age. As a result, the literacy rate for the population aged five years and older was estimated at about 24 percent. With the decade plus war that has raged in Liberia, the educational facilities have been degraded to pre-1900 levels.

University of Liberia

The University of Liberia traces its origins to Liberia College. Liberia College was incorporated by an Act of the Legislature of Liberia in December, 1851. The cornerstone for the first building, financed by the Trustees of Donations for Education in Liberia, was laid on January 25, 1858. Consequently, in 1951, the Legislature of the Republic chartered the University of Liberia. The Charter granted the University of Liberia by the Legislature merged its constituent elements: Liberia college (by then, the Liberal & Fine Arts College) and the William V.S. Tub man Teachers College.

University of Liberia

Booker T. Washington Institute at Kakata

The Booker T. Washington Institute at Kakata, Liberia, was founded in 1929 by a group of American missionary and philanthropic organizations, including the American Colonization Society. The campus of the institute was built on a 1,000-acre tract of land granted by the Liberian government.


Cuttington University College, Liberia

Cuttington University college was founded by the Episcopal Church U.S.A on February 22 1889. It islocated 120 miles north of Monrovia, and is the oldest private, coeducational, four-year, degree-granting institution in sub-Saharan Africa. It issues degrees in the liberal arts and a number of technical studies.

It has educated generations of leaders for the nation of Liberia and indeed for West Africa. Its roots lie deep within the history of the nation, the relationship between Liberia and the United States, and the Episcopal Church.


Structure of Liberia's Educational system


Types of higher education institutions:


School leaving and higher education credentials:

West African Examination Council (WAEC) Certificate
Associate Degree
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree


Pre-higher education:

Duration of compulsory education:
Age of entry: 6
Age of exit: 16

Structure of school system:


During this period the little students are taught how to identify letters and read. Student ages range from 3 to 6.

Type of school providing this education: Elementary School
Length of program in years: 6
Age level from: 6 to: 12

Junior Secondary
Type of school providing this education: Junior High School
Length of program in years: 3
Age level from: 12 to: 15
Certificate/diploma awarded: Examination by the West African Examination Council (WAEC)

Senior Secondary
Type of school providing this education: Senior High School
Length of program in years: 3
Age level from: 15 to: 18
Certificate/diploma awarded: West African Examination Council (WAEC) Certificate

School education:
Elementary education lasts for six years.

Secondary education consists of two three-year cycles: three years of Junior secondary (Grades VII-IX) and three years of Senior secondary education (Grades X-XII). At the end of Grade IX, students sit for an examination administered by the West African Examination Council (WAEC).

Successful students are eligible to enter Senor High School. Upper secondary education culminates in the WAEC Certificate Examination, which is the basis for access to higher education institutions. An entrance examination is required for access to higher education.

Higher education:
Higher education is mostly provided by the University of Liberia in Monrovia, the African Methodist Episcopal University, Cuttington University College (private and linked to the Episcopalian Church), and Colleges. Each tertiary institution sets its own standards. Degree-granting institutions are chartered by the National Legislature.

Each has a separate Board of Trustees or directors appointed under the terms of its charter. Institutions of higher education are under the authority of the Ministry of Education, the National Commission on Higher Education and the Board of Trustees.

Academic year:
Classes from: Mar to: Dec
Long vacation from: 1 Jan to: 28 Feb
Languages of instruction: English

Stages of studies:
Non-university level post-secondary studies (technical/vocational type):
Non-university level: Associate Degree:
Non-university level post-secondary education consists of two-year courses offered by junior colleges leading to the award of an Associate Degree. Several colleges also offer middle-level technical training and Liberal Arts education.

University level studies:

University level first stage: Bachelor's Degree:
The first stage lasts for four years and leads to the award of the Bachelor's Degree. The curricular structure generally provides for the first two years to include basic and general courses, such as English, introductory Physical and Social Sciences, Physical Education and general Mathematics. This is followed by courses in the student's area of specialization. Entry to legal studies requires at least two years' previous higher education; the degree of Bachelor of Laws is awarded after three years of specialization.

University level second stage: Master's Degree:
A second stage leads to the Master of Science Degree, awarded by the University of Liberia after two years' graduate study. In Medicine, the Doctorate is conferred after seven years of study.

Teacher education:
Training of pre-primary and primary/basic school teachers
Primary-school teachers are trained at upper secondary level at a Teacher Training Institute. Courses last for three years and lead to a Primary Teacher's Certificate/Grade C Teaching Certificate.

Training of secondary school teachers
A Grade B Teaching Certificate is required to teach in Junior High Schools. Upper Secondary-school teachers are graduates. They are trained at the Teachers' College of the University of Liberia, the Department of Education at Cuttington University College and William V.S. Tubman Teachers College. Courses last for four years and lead to a Bachelor's Degree in Education. They may also follow a two-year course leading to a Grade A Teaching Certificate if they already hold a degree in another subject.

Training of higher education teachers
A Master's Degree is required to teach in Colleges of Education, together with a teaching qualification. University teachers must hold a Doctorate.


Admission to university-level studies
Name of secondary school credential required: West African Examination Council (WAEC) Certificate
Entrance exams required: Entrance examination.


Full Description: Marking is on a percentage scale, the pass mark being 70%.
Highest on scale: 100%
Pass/fail level: 70%
Lowest on scale: 0%
Main grading system used by higher education institutions
Full Description: A=90-100; B=80-89; C=70-79; D=60-69; F=fail
Highest on scale: A
Pass/fail level: D
Lowest on scale: F


Ministry of Education


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