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Preprimary & Primary Education

The first 10 grades of schooling in Liberia technically are compulsory, comprising of a preprimary grade followed by nine years of basic education—6 years at the primary level and 3 at the junior secondary level. However, schooling is not free, and parents increasingly have had to hold their children out of school to avoid having to cover their expected educational contribution—school fees—due to the country's dire economic situation. The primary grades normally include 6- to 12-year-olds; although with high repetition rates, older students generally are included as well.

Participation rates dropped dramatically in preprimary, primary, and secondary education during the 1990s due to Liberia's civil war. School enrollment rates in rural areas also have been considerably lower than in urban areas of Liberia. Moreover, educational enrollment and attainment statistics were not regularly or reliably collected during the 1990s. As a point of comparison with other countries, one source of educational statistics reported the 1985 gross enrollment ratio at the primary level in Liberia to be 40 percent (51 percent for boys and 28 percent for girls). In 1995 the overall ratio had dropped significantly to just 33 percent, due primarily to the war and Liberia's ravaged economy. Another source identified male and female gross primary enrollment ratios for the year 2000 to be 72 percent and 53 percent, respectively, with corresponding net enrollment figures of 43 percent for boys and 31 percent for girls. One more source noted the net primary enrollment ratio to be 40 percent in Liberia in 2001.

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Education Encyclopedia - StateUniversity.comGlobal Education ReferenceLiberia - History Background, Constitutional Legal Foundations, Educational System—overview, Preprimary Primary Education, Secondary Education