Liberia Digital Learning Program (LDLP)


Liberia Digital Learning Program (LDLP)
Moto: “Behold, anything is possible…!”All rights reserved



Written by Bernard Gbayee Goah

Projected Overall Budget: – US$200,000.00

Program History
The Liberia Digital Learning Program was thought about on October 20, 2009 by Bernard Goah who saw reasons to help the people of Liberia become literate through digital learning.
Program Description:
Liberia digital learning offers a cohesive strategy for developing the most cost-effective learning system across Liberia on a large scale using a simple computer to monitor/projector network system to propagate educational knowledge from an individual teacher to a large numbers of students in separate classes at the same time. It allows a teacher to teach a single course in multiple classes at the same time via computers, monitor/projector, microphone, speakers, and cameras without having to travel from one class to another.
This learning system maximizes the number of students learning at the same time and thus increases literacy rate amongst adult Liberians hungry to learn in these difficult times. Because classes will began at the same time across all learning facilities, the same course in any single school district at a given time will be thought across the entire country where these learning facilities exist.
As an alternative to the traditional learning, this type of learning provides for students to be on the same pace across similar learning systems in Liberia. Liberia digital learning program builds on a services network of 16 monitors/projectors mounted in 16 individual classes located in a single building in each school district across Liberia.  There shall be eight classes to a computer station connected via 16 VGA network splitter ports. Because different types of network cabling have their own maximum distance that they can move data signal, each data cable from the VGA splitter shall have a repeater depending on the distance it covers.  Repeaters will only be needed in cases where a LAN must be extended beyond it maximum run for its particular cabling type.  Liberia digital learning program shall be funded by grants received from individual donors, Private, not for profit, and public organizations including organizations such as foundations, churches, schools, etc.
Targeted Audience:
Adults Liberians living in Liberia Ages 18 and above wishing to advance their learning capacities in Liberia, adults ages 18 and above, dominantly living in remote, and unprivileged communities in Liberia. Adults Liberians living in Liberia, Ages 18 and above who wish to go to school and are unable to pay cost of education for whatsoever reason(s).
Targeted audience:
All adult Liberians ages 18 and above living in Liberia
Expected outcome:
Liberia Digital Learning Program (LDLP) will:
§  Provide alternative learning opportunities to all adults in Liberia;
§  Enhance access and improve the quality of adult education in Liberia, with a view to improve readiness for higher level education and the job market;
§  Reduce the stereotyping of semi educated and encourage them to learn if they wish even at age 100;
§  Maintain standards of learning across all facilities and yet such standards as defined in the Educational ministry of Liberia adult literacy guidelines;
§  Provide remedial learning and accelerated instruction to over aged adults;
§  Be an exemplar system to improve the quality of the teaching and learning experience in adult schools through Liberia with the hope of other adults emulating such examples; and [for articulation of the primary level and secondary adult education (ages 18 and above)]
§  Enhance adult student retention and transition to similar adult secondary school
Program location
The program shall be carried out in each of the 15 counties across Liberia.
About Liberia
Liberia is located on the west coast of Africa between Serra Leon, Guinea, and the French Ivory coast.
Liberia was “founded by free slaves from the United States of America and the Caribbean in 1847”.  Although founded by freed American and Caribbean slaves, Liberia is mostly made up of indigenous Africans, with the slaves’ descendants comprising about 5% of the population.  By the late 1980s arbitrary rule by government and economic collapse culminated in civil war when Charles Taylor’s National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) rebels overran much of the country side. President Samuel Doe was executed.
In 1995 a peace agreement was signed, leading to the election of Charles Taylor as president. The respite was brief, with anti-government fighting breaking out in the north in 1999. Matters came to a head in 2003 when President Taylor – under international pressure quit and hemmed in by rebels – stepped down and went into exile in Nigeria. A transitional government steered the country towards elections in 2005. Around 250, 000 people were killed in Liberia’s civil war and many thousands more fled the fighting. The conflict left the country in economic ruin and the destruction of infrastructure. The capital remains without mains of electricity and running water. Corruption is rife and unemployment and illiteracy are endemic. The current President of Liberia is Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. The United Nations maintains some 15,000 soldiers in Liberia.
Liberia Basic indicators:
Demography and Economy Value
Population, total (million)
§     3.5 Million  (a)
Population living below the national poverty line (2,400 Kcal/per day per adult) (% of total)
§     63.8 (d)
Population living in extreme poverty (based on food poverty line) (% of total)
§     47.9 (d)
GDP per capita (US$)
§     190 (e)
GDP growth (annual %)
§     9.5 (e)
Unemployment rate, (% of adult male/female 15+ years)
§     18.8/34.2 (c)
Vulnerable employment rate (% of adult 15+years)
§     80.1(d)
Education
Primary school gross enrolment ratio (GER)
§     Total/Female  86.3/84.5 (d)
Primary school net enrolment ratio (NER)
§     Total/Female  37.3/37.1 (d)
Primary school net attendance ratio (NAR)
§     Total/Female  40.0/38.6 (c)
Primary school gross attendance ratio (GAR)
§     Total/Female  82.7/79.1 (c)
Secondary school NER
§     Total/Female  15.2/14.2 (d)
Secondary school GER
§     Total/Female   51.3/44.7 (d)
Secondary school NAR
§     Total/Female   19.6/17.9 (c)
Gender parity index, (based on primary school gross attendance)
§     0.92 (c)
Adult literacy rate (% of male/female 15-49 years)
§     70.3/40 (c)
Sources:
a) 2008 National Population and Housing Census: Preliminary Results
b) State of the World’s Children 2008, UNICEF Report
c) Liberia Demographic and Health Survey 2007
d) Core Welfare Indicator Questionnaire Survey 2007
e) Liberia Poverty Reduction Strategy 2008 – 2011
f) The 2007 National School Census, Ministry of Education.
Program evaluation and Problem Identification
Due to the15 year civil war, many children attending school had to discontinue school in order to flee their homes.  Many years of being either internally displaced or refugees in other countries prohibited these students from continuing their primary and high school education.  These once school aged children are now adults without a solid academic foundation.  Many are parents who must now feed and support their children in school. Because they lack the requisite skills that will make them competitive in the job market, they are left either unemployed or with the option of taking extremely low wage labor force jobs which pay an equivalent of US $2.00 (US two dollars) a day.
Currently, if an adult Liberian wants to complete their high school education they must attend school with school aged children.  There is a stereotype about these adults of unintelligence which creates shame. This shame in turn discourages adults from pursing their education. Government lack of funding to pay teachers coupled with very limited but expensive private adult night schools ran by individuals has made education for adults highly inaccessible.
There is a need for a more progressive option to bridge the gap between what is currently being offered and what is truly needed for adults to access a high school education.  This option must:
·                     Reduce shame for adults pursuing a high school education
·                     Be accessible to all adults regardless of socioeconomic background
·                     Be affordable to implement on a large scale
Mission
To empower disadvantaged individuals in Liberia become self-sufficient with skills necessary for future employment, and personal success through digital learning.
Vision
To assist underprivileged adults in Liberia obtain the knowledge and skills necessary for employment and self-sufficiency through completion of secondary school.
Duration
The program shall be in two phases. The first phases shall be six years. The second phase of the program shall be ongoing depending on the result of the first phase.
Funding
During the six year period, the entire program shall be primarily funded by donors.
Management
Program shall be headed and managed by Bernard Goah. Bernard will make monthly reports on the progress and give account of how funding is spent throughout the course of the program through quarterly reports for the duration of the program. After the sixth year, the program shall be turned over to the community with limited supervision and the provision of some expertise from Bernard to the local leaders. Community ownership is viable option to maintain the program and kept it running.
Sustainability
Grants and donations received from individuals, organizations, institutions, will be used to sustain the program during the course of the six years.  Beside grants and donations, there shall be a team of individuals who will be charged with the responsibility to fund raise for the program.
Stake Holders:
§     Program Staff
§     Local and International donor representative
§     Government county education representative
§     Church Leaders
§     Community leaders/Chiefs/Zoes and Bodios
§     Social clubs Leaders
§     Precious groups Leaders
§     Political party representatives
§     Farmers associations Leaders
§     Youth organizations and student groups Leaders
§     NGOs and CBOs Heads
§     United Nations Educational Cultural and Scientific Fund representative
§     UN peace keeper representative
§     Foreign Government representatives in Liberia
§     County Joint security representative
§     Market association leader
There shall be one representative each from the above stake holder to attend a three weeks workshop about the program and its benefit to the community. Program funds shall finance the implementation of the workshop.
Program Needs
·                     School building
·                     Teachers
·                     First Aid personnel and medical supplies
·                     Motor Vehicle
·                     Generator/ Solar panel/Batteries
·                     Electrical cables, Switches/circuit breakers, bulbs, Out-lets
·                     Computers
·                     Ceiling fan
·                     Wide screen LCD monitor/Projector,
·                     Computer screen protector
·                     External hard drives and Thumb drives,
·                     Ceiling fans
·                     Electric light bulb, cables, switches, insulating tapes, nails, fuses, breakers, and outlets
·                     Microphones
·                     Network cable, VGA Video Matrix 2 IN 16 OUT, 1RU or
VGA Video/Audio Splitter
Use one computer to display the same high-resolution image on up to 256 monitors
Also known as: VGA splitter, video splitter, VGA video splitters, video distribution amplifier, PC video splitter,
monitor splitter, multiple monitor, video port expander, LCD Y splitter, hub.
·                     Repeaters
·                     Computer cameras
·                     Stationeries/Copy books/Books, pens, pencils,
·                     Scanners and printers
·                     Locks and keys
·                     Chairs and desk
·                     Gasoline/Oil
·                     Internet connection
Justification of Program needs
  • School building:
The program shall need an already existing school building no less than 16 classes in each building to operate. Program leaders will negotiate with school authorities in Liberia to use existing school buildings.
  • Teachers:
Qualified volunteer teachers from the immediate community shall be recruited to teach, and shall be paid from stipends allocated by the program.
First Aid personnel and medical supplies:
The Program shall have one first aid person in every school district of operation, and shall be paid from stipends allocated by the program.
  • Motor Vehicle:
There shall be two motor Vehicles during the program operations. One Vehicle will be for material transportation, emergency operations while the other shall be used for administrative purposes. All motor Vehicles shall be four-wheel drive due to though terrain and bad road condition during raining season.
  • Generator/Solar panel, Batteries, invertors:
There shall be 15 Portable Generators and invertors, one in each school district. The purpose of the generator shall be to provide power supply for computers and other equipments during the program operation. Alternatively, 15 solar plates could be used to serve similar purposes since sun light is plentiful in Liberia. There shall be 15 invertors to regulate voltage across each of the 15 circuits in the school district.
  • Electrical cables, Switches/Circuit breakers, Bulb, Out-lets:
Electrical accessories including cables, switches, circuit breakers, bulb, out-lets shall be use to enhanced the powering of each of the building of operation in each school district.
  • Computer:
There shall be 30 computers across the entire program parameter. Each school district shall have at most two computers and at least one. Each computer will be controlled by a single teacher during class time. A single teach shall remotely teach a single subject in all 16 classes during a single class period in a day.
  • Wide screen LCD monitor/Projector:
There shall be 17(seventeen) wide screen LCD monitors/projectors for class room and office use in each of the 15 school districts, one wide screen LCD monitor/projector per class room. Out of the 17 wide screen LCD monitors/projectors, two shall be kept for immediate replacement purposes incase of damage.
  • Computer screen protector:
If monitors are used instead of projectors, there shall be 17 (seventeen) wide screen computer screen protectors to minimize the amount of light from the computer screen to the eyes of the student in the class room. Additionally, 30 monitor screen protectors shall be needed for the 30 computer monitors at each teaching station across the entire program sites.  This is needed specially so since all of the students will be adults amongst which could possibly be people with vision problem.
  • External hard drive and Thumb drive:
There shall be at least two external hard drives and four thumb drives in each school of operation for data storage purposes.
  • Ceiling fan:
There shall be 17 ceiling fans in each school district to cool the computers and to provide a comfortable learning environment for the students. School buildings in Liberia do not have any cooling systems at all.
  • Macro phone:
There shall be 22 micro phones in each school district. Sixteen will be used for the class room, one will be used by the instructor, and 5 will be kept for reserve in case any damage is done to any of the micro phones. Macro phones shall be used for lectures and question and answer period.
  • Network Cable, VGA Video Matrix 2 IN 16 OUT, 1RU:
There shall be 15, 16-17 ports VGA splitters and switches, one VGA splitter with a switch in each school district. VGA splitters and switches shall be used to propagate and regulate information to classes in each school district. Video Matrix switch allows you to route video from multiple computers to multiple displays. It is a combination of a video switch and a video splitter in one unit. It allows you to display the same image from one PC to all monitors or images from different PCs to different monitors. This premium video matrix switch has a high bandwidth of 250MHz to maintain video integrity and provides clear & sharp images. This switch uses standard VGA cables, thus eliminating the need for long bulky coax cables with BNC connectors and is ideal for presentations, classrooms, command and control centers, test bench facilities, remote monitoring & training facilities.
  • Repeaters:
Repeaters will take the signal that it receives from the computers and other devices on the LAN and regenerates the signal in order for the signal to maintain its integrity while traveling along a longer media run. This will increase data signal to all 16 monitor/projector in each individual class. The repeaters will amplify the entire signal that they receive and retransmit said signal to the 16 computers/projectors.
  • Computer Camera:
There shall be 17 computer cameras in each school district, 16 for classroom use and one for teacher station use. Computer cameras shall be used as a visual tool for both teachers and students body language during lecture time as well as control disturbance during class lecture time.
  • Stationeries/Copy books/Books, pens/pencils:
Stationeries shall be used to run the administrative aspect of the program as well as provide Copy books, books, pen and pencils for the student to use.
  • Locks and keys:
There shall be 240 locks and keys for every class room in all of the operation areas in each school district for the purpose of securing the materials and equipments.
  • Chairs and desk:
There shall be 16 arm chairs for class room use in each of the 15 school districts.
·         Ceiling fan:
There shall be on ceiling fan in each class room in every school district because all LDLP programs are in Liberia and Liberia is usually hot during the dry season. Adults learning under such hot unbearable condition can be frustrating, as such, a cooling system is necessary to keep them a bit cool while they focus their learning.  Ceiling fan will provide a cooling atmosphere for both students and teachers as well help protect equipments such as projectors, monitors, and computers. 
  • Gasoline/Oil:
There shall be ongoing cost of Gasoline for generator use during the program duration.
·         Scanners and printers:
There shall be a scanner and a printer at each school in all 15 LDLP school district across Liberia. These will be used to produce handouts in large quantity, test papers, and for additional administrative purposes as desire by the program.
  • Internet connection:
A local internet connection will be needed in order to look up teacher materials and lectures online. The internet will be used to communicate with donors as well as source of ongoing research for program expansion and improvement.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is Liberia Digital Program (LDLP)?
The Liberia Digital Program: Liberia Digital Program is an initiative proposed and designed by Bernard Goah to create the digital class room/infrastructure needed to prepare the next generation of adults Liberians with the skills to excel educationally in Liberia.
The LDLP is building a cohesive, and nationwide, advanced learning subnets of computers and monitors/projectors that are stationed in each of the 15 counties for use by adults Liberians students, teachers and administrators.
The LDLP provides access to major educational content resources as prescribed by the ministry of education curriculum in Liberia for teaching, and learning in order to prepare adult students with the basic knowledge and specific skills to inspire them to enter and be successful in higher education and in the workforce in Liberia.
Q: What are the goals of the LDLP?
The LDLP has five major goals:
1. To provide a nationwide, advanced learning subnets of computers and monitors/projectors that are stationed in each of the 15 counties for use by adults Liberians students, and teachers in Liberia.
2. To facilitate access to major content resources for teaching and learning in Liberia’s adult education;
3. To create an environment that facilitates collaboration between LDLP, the ministry of education of Liberia and higher education institution in Liberia;
4. To provide a conduit for educators to access Information Age tools and enhance the skills required to use technology effectively in the classroom; and
5. To provide an ongoing mechanism and financial and technical support needed and  required thus enabling adult literacy education in Liberia to sustain a cohesive and reliable digital class room education network amongst all LDLP program schools.
Q: Why do we need the LDLP?
While today’s Internet is widely viewed as an Effective means to provide information and a limited array of services to educators and students, and that there are programs like the Digital High School Program across most developed nation, internet is not fully accessible in about 95% of Liberia.  Liberia is almost dislocated from the digital learning world. Out of the 15 counties in Liberia there is no access to computer in schools operating in 14 of the total schools in these counties. In fact, there is no internet nor physical computers in any professed adult literacy school any, anywhere in Liberia. 
Q: What benefits will the LDLP provide?
The LDLP contributes to accomplishing the vision of the Liberia Education Ministry on providing education to adults across the entire country.  There are four major framework goals for this kind of technology and the contributions to them are:
Goal 1: Developing and Maintaining a Nationwide LDLP’s Technology Infrastructure
The key to a comprehensive information technology strategy is the development of cohesive nationwide, advanced learning subnets of computers and monitors/projectors.  Developing and maintaining this technology infrastructure is a primary goal of the LDLP.
Goal 2: Providing for Professional Development
The LDLP will offer greater access to currently available schools that don’t have subnets of computers and monitors/projectors -based teaching preparation, programs, and in-service staff development. More importantly, it will serve as the conduit for innovative multimedia education and interactive professional development programs, allowing educators greater flexibility in teaching large number of students at a time.
Goal 3: Developing and Integrating the Ministry of Education of Liberia Curriculum.
The LDLP is not designed to development it own stand alone curriculum.
However, LDLP will collaboratively integrate some courses it sees fit to enable adult students get the intended learning skills they desire.
Goal 4: Providing Access to Library Information and Learning Resources
Library information and other archives and resources are increasingly available electronically and widely accessed in post-secondary and research communities in first world countries. The future need for a high-speed internet services network to provide access to this rich online content for adult digital learning in Liberia will be critically focused.
Q: What will the LDLP Nationwide Classrooms look like?
The LDLP offers a cohesive strategy for developing the most cost-effective nationwide sub network possible. It builds on a services network of 16 monitors/projectors mounted in 16 individual classes located in a single building.  Eight classes to a computer station connected via 16 VGA network splitter ports using network cables. There shall be 16 students in each class listening to a teacher’s from a remote distance but in the same building. The goal is to have 128 students been thought remotely by a single teacher at the same time within each school district.
Q: What kinds of new applications will be available for use with the LDLP network?
While development of applications and resources is outside the scope of this program, the LDLP will be operated in conjunction with outreach and enrichment programs already initiated and being developed base on windows applications as well as work with compatible application designed by other adult literacy schools in Liberia in the future. This type of school to school relationships embrace and include teacher preparation, professional development, curriculum development, student outreach and access to library information resources.
What the LDLP offers is a coordinating mechanism for strengthening the educational relationships between adult literacy schools and an environment that nurtures these relationships. Specifically, this coordination component will involve identifying applications and resources that can best serve the adult education community in Liberia. The programs, applications and services provided through these relationships will be delivered via the network in a friendly, time efficient manner for adult literacy educators and students.
Q: Will my school be connected to the LDLP sub network?
Current estimates show that approximately 15 school districts will have digital learning system. For information about a specific school, please send your email to bgoah76@yahoo.com or goahbg@gmail.com .
Q: What is the current status of LDLP?
LDLP is an idea thought about by Bernard Goah who saw reasons to help the people of Liberia become literate through digital learning. There is currently no source of funding for this project. It is the author’s hope that donors wishing to help the people of Liberia would come to the aid of LDLP.  

Please Help!

About the author: The author of this project Bernard Gbayee Goah hails from Grand Gedeh County Liberia. He currently reads public administration at graduate level. Bernard holds BA in Business Administration/ Information System, AA degree in Business Accounting, and Diploma in Electrical operations. Bernard is a computer programmer. He is also the President of the movement “Operation We Care for Liberia”.
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