James Roberts ‘66, Liberia’s Deputy Minister of Education, recently secured $40 million for Liberia’s schools under the World Bank’s Education for All Fast Track Initiative (EFA FTI). The grant decisions were made at the EFA FTI meetings in Washington, D.C., on May 7. This amount of money will be crucial in increasing enrollment in schools and developing greater educational opportunities for Liberia’s youth.
Roberts ’66 was instrumental in bringing this support to Liberia. He attended nearly all of the EFA FTI meetings to ensure Liberia’s inclusion in the funding and demonstrated his dedication to increasing school enrollment in his country. The money from the grant will build 453 new classrooms, buy 100,000 books and 21,500 teacher manuals, and finance the training of 3,000 teachers. Also, a school health component will provide health services to 300,000 young students.
On May 10, EFA FTI pledged $303 million in funding to African and Southeast Asian countries Ethiopia, Liberia, Malawi, and Togo, and Lao People’s Democratic Republic. This money will support programs that will enroll five million out-of-school children in primary schools.
Essentially, the EFA FTI focuses on “getting more children into school” and progressing toward the Millennium Development Goal of universal primary education by 2015. It is a global partnership between donors and low-income countries that works to give all children access to quality, basic education. The EFA FTI currently aids 41 countries with donors including 19 agencies, organizations such as UNICEF and UNESCO, and representatives from Civil Society Organizations and the private sector. Past projects have included the donation of $22 million for school reconstruction and development in Haiti.
Roberts graduated with a B.A. in English from Hobart College.