A member of ECOWAS Parliament, Sen. Haward Taylor, of Liberia on Wednesday in Abuja urged all ECOWAS member countries to make basic education free of charge for their citizens.
Taylor made the call during an interview the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
She said that adopting a free education policy would be a major stepping stone towards a more prosperous West Africa.
Taylor said it would provide affordable and equal opportunities for every school age child in the region.
The parliamentarian said that Liberia introduced free education for its citizens after acknowledging the importance of education in its post-civil war reconstruction and development efforts.
Taylor said the policy was aimed at reducing the financial burden on parents and guardians at the early stage of their children’s education, thereby encouraging high enrolment into schools.
“In Liberia, tuition fee is only paid at the senior secondary school level as school children do not pay tuition fees from the primary school level to Junior Secondary School level.
“Since free education was introduced, student enrolment has increased dramatically as thousands of children have returned to school including those who are well past primary school age,’’ Taylor said.
She also called for the establishment of more schools in the region, adding that with the initiative, education would become more accessible with less crowded classrooms.
Taylor said that activities such as child trafficking, child labour, child soldier, early marriages could be reduced when education became free with more schools built.
The parliamentarian also said that it was important to consider children-teacher ratio in order to provide not just free education but quality education for all.
“When the teachers’ capabilities are stretched, schools lacking in resources and classrooms packed so tightly, the effect will become negative,” Taylor said. (NAN)