GG Gbovadeh Gbilia was overwhelmingly elected along with representatives H.E. Amb. Ana Hernandez of the Dominican Republic, Hon. Anne Anderson of the United Kingdom, Vishal V. Sharma of India, and Tural Ahmadov of Azerbaijan to steer the affairs of the commission for the next two years alongside H.E. Audrey Azoulay, Director General of UNESCO, who also got re-elected.
The continuation of Liberia in this prestigious post is recognition of the role that the country has played in innovative education programming for half a decade. For meaningful change to be seen in Africa; programmes and initiatives need to be driven by local African Governments and local voices. For too long, those outside the continent have determined what is best for the continent. Liberia’s seat at the table, rightly confirms that this is changing.
Serving from the previous two years, Mr. Gbilia's role, as Vice-Chair of the UNESCO Education Commission, is to work alongside the Chairwoman Amb. Ana Hernandez to lead UNESCOs Education Commission on Education related issues such as; preparation of a medium-term strategy accompanied by programs and budget (2022 - 2025), plans for adult literacy, recommendations against discrimination in education, and most interestingly an Operational Strategy for Priority Africa (2022 - 2029).
He also deals with matters related to Technical and Vocational Education and Training, (TVET) Higher Education, Framework design for the Implementation of Education Sustainable Development (ESD), developing international standards for Teacher Training Programs, establishment of a future International Bureau of Education, and coordination of and support for the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 4 – Education 2030.
Mr. Gbilia, currently heads Bridge Liberia, a social enterprise which has been partnering with the Liberian Government since 2016, in what is known as the first major public private partnership education program in Africa, now known as the Liberian Education Advancement Program (LEAP), an innovative public private partnership designed to transform the primary public education system. The program has delivered exceptional improvement in both teaching and learning in the schools in which it operates and has served as a blueprint for state- and nation-wide education transformation elsewhere in the continent, most noticeably Nigeria.
For over five years, Bridge Liberia worked in 11 of Liberia’s 15 counties with a renewed mandate for academic year 2021/2021 from the Ministry of Education to grow the program and start operating in every county.
In reaction to his re-election, he said, “It’s a high honor to be re-elected for a second mandate as Vice Chair of the education commission. I am deeply humbled by the immense confidence entrusted in me by my colleagues from other member states for another two years; most especially our faithful friends from the Africa Group! We have a lot of work to be done to regain and supersede losses that the education sector globally felt last year due to COVID-19. I will do all in my capacity to uphold the high standard of the Education Commission in alignment with SDG-4 and ensure education services and resources reach the last-mile in the communities we serve.”
Mr. Gbilia also applauded the entire Liberian Government delegation led by Head of the delegation & Dean of the UNESCO Committee - Education Minister Prof. D. Ansu Sonii, Sr., Youth and Sports Minister D. Zoegar Wilson, Gender Minister Piso Saydee-Tarr, Information, Tourism & Cultural Affairs Minister Ledgerhood Rennie, President of the University of Liberia Dr. Julius Sarwolo Nelson, Jr. - for their leadership, patriotism, and unyielding support to improve education outcomes. This high-powered delegation was assembled under the auspices of President Dr. George M. Weah, who has been overwhelmingly supportive of the Liberian delegation during this UNESCO mission and will even be a distinguished speaker at the 75th Anniversary of UNESCO celebration event along with 28 other Heads of State culminating the conclusion of the General Conference on Nov. 12, 2021.