Liberia Children and School

By | June 12, 2021

Do the children in Liberia go to school?

In Liberia, a country located in Africa according to, schooling is compulsory for nine years. Children start school at the age of 7 and attend primary school for six years, followed by secondary school for three years. At the end of 9th grade, they can take an exam and graduate or go to school.

Many children do not go to school

But only 38 percent of children in Liberia go to school. That’s not even half of all children. It is also the worst value among any West African country. In 2014 the situation worsened again because all schools were closed for several months because of the Ebola outbreak. So none of the children who should have started school in 2014 went to school. The schools were reopened in February 2015, but under special conditions. For example, the students had to have their temperature measured before class so that an infection could be recognized quickly. Up until now there were usually 100 students in a class, the number should be reduced to 40 to 50 children.

The long civil war between 1998 and 2003 not only destroyed many school buildings, but also ensured that even fewer children went to school during this period. Today only 48 percent of the adults in Liberia can read and write – more than half of all adults cannot.

Work instead of school

Then there are children in Liberia who do not go to school because they work (see The Children of Liberia). This affects 14 out of 100 children (14 percent). Another problem is poorly trained teachers, violence by teachers and corruption and bribery – good grades are given in exchange for money or other services. It even happens that school fees are charged, although the state schools in Liberia are officially not allowed to charge school fees and education is free. Even if school attendance is free, school uniforms and books have to be bought. But many families cannot afford that.

The situation is often even worse for girls than for boys. They go to school less often because the parents think that girls do not need any schooling. If they go to school, they run the risk of being subjected to sexual violence by teachers.

What are the names of the children in Liberia?

If you were born a girl in Liberia, your name might be Mardea – at least if you came from the Bassa people and were the first daughter of the family. Mardea means “first girl”. Other Bassa girl names are Fortee, Janjay, Mayupleh, Monji, Sundaymah, Tomah, and Wlejii. Boys are called by the Bassa Gardiah (“first boy”) or Garnahweh, Gartee, Garyupleh, Garmuyu, Sundaygar or Togar.

But maybe you would have been born as a child of the Kpelle ! Then as a girl you might be called Bindu, Fahnlohnee, Gblormehn, Miata, Mehnmah, Korlu, Lurpu, Garmenh, Zoe or Kehper. Typical boy names are Kpangbah, Kparsi, Manhtee, Toimu, Togba, Flomo, Kollie, Paye, Garteh or Dolo. Which name would be your favorite?

The Vai, Kru or Mande also have typical names for their people. In addition to the African names, English names are still common, especially among the Ameriko-Liberians. These are the descendants of the freed slaves from America who were settled from 1922 onwards. First names are for example Ellen, Milton, Earnest, Harrison or George. Last names also often sound English, such as Johnson, Barnes, Eastman or Roberts.

The fate of the child soldiers

In the first phase of the Liberian civil war, up to 1997, around 15,000 child soldiers fought. You were younger than 15 years old. Some are said to have been only nine years old. Many of these child soldiers have been forced to fight. But there were also children who volunteered. They wanted revenge for violence inflicted on their family, or sought protection or saw it as the only way to survive.

The child soldiers were beaten and forced to do terrible things. Not only did they witness numerous atrocities, they also committed them themselves. Many were also drugged to make them fearless and foolhardy under the action.

Both the rebel groups and the state armed forces used child soldiers. About two-thirds were boys, but girls were also forced to fight. They were often subjected to sexual violence and were raped.

How are the children in Liberia?

Many children in Liberia are not doing as well as you are. They are poor, have to starve, get sick or have to work.


41 percent of the population in Liberia lives below the poverty line and has less than $ 1.90 a day to live on. This is also a very high value for West Africa. Many people don’t have enough to eat.


In Liberia, more than two in 100 newborns die, five in 100 one-year-olds and seven in 100 five-year-olds! There are many reasons for this: not all of them have clean drinking water and then get sick. A particularly large number of children die from diarrhea. There are also diseases, especially malaria, from which children die.

Child labor

14 percent of the children in Liberia work. Most of them work in agriculture, either in their parents’ fields or in rubber tree fields. Other children do chores, sell goods on the street, or repair motorcycles. Some also work in gold or diamond mines or crush stones in quarries. They are then used to build a house.

Other children are sold from Liberia to Sierra Leone, Guinea, Nigeria or the Ivory Coast, where they are forced to do slave labor.

Street children

Many children live on the streets. They too beg or steal or collect rubbish. Many of them are orphans and have lost one or both parents. There are also many orphans and half-orphans in Liberia. Some of them lost their parents to AIDS. In 2014, many children lost their parents to Ebola.

Marry young

Another problem is that girls in particular are married before they are 15 years old. In Liberia this affects 9 out of 100 children. Among the girls who were married at the age of 18, the proportion is even 36 percent. That’s a lot more than here, but less than in other West African countries.

Liberia Schools