The challenges of learning impact on socially marginalized groups in higher institutions of learning in Liberia.,


In Liberia, our culture does not encourage lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer or questioning (LGBTQ). This is a controversial issue facing higher education leaders. This also happens in some African settings. A student who openly confesses that she or he belongs to the LGBTQ group will face discrimination and will be racially abused by other students and or staff.  Our education system is intended to uphold equal opportunity, but too often it also establishes racial inequalities by its design. We are engaging educators, students, and partners to carry on real dialogue around issues of racial justice in higher education, to scrutinize guidelines and practices in our school structures and our societies, and to assemble and take action for education impartiality. LGTBQ students face unique challenges in our schools. They are more likely to face provocation and harassment leading to poor grades, higher dropout rates, and destitution. Nonviolent and supporting schools are an essential component of student accomplishment. Therefore, this analysis aims at looking at challenges facing these marginalized groups in tertiary education in Liberia and the subregion; and how could they be eased and curtailed so that the system could be the best. Especially for these marginalized groups.


Liberia as a post-conflict zone faces lots of trials, but atop of which is formulating unswerving and fruitful human capital through which abundant natural resources that it has can be valuable and help to change its status of underdevelopment. Further, among the negative outcomes of the 14 years of Civil Wars (1989-2003) in Liberia, is immense migration of professionals and trained teachers and university professors to the western world mainly the United States of America. Thus, this relocation left an adverse effect on pre-university studies in Liberia. As a result, tertiary education has been also hazardously affected. In the face of the global and nationwide efforts to resuscitate and revitalize the educational sector in Liberia, the situation seems to be facing numerous encounters, particularly the higher education. The feebleness in the Liberian education system led the Former President herself, a Noble Price laureate, her Excellency Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to label Liberia education as a mess. Furthermore, poor execution of educational strategies, ill-economic supports for institutions of higher learning, poor educational structures, and widespread child labor, etc., are some of the key things that constitute challenges to higher education in Liberia. Nevertheless, there have been lots of efforts and hands-on activities to improve and refine the pre-university school system in Liberia to include these people. Consequently, for these groups to be fully included at various universities in Liberia,  higher institutions and government have to partner with international partners, such as The United States International Aid (USAID), The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the African Development Bank, A.S Charitable Society, ( a local NGO) Catholic Schools, Methodist Schools ( local school systems) and others.

For example at the University of Liberia, where I earned my Master’s of Arts in International Relations in 2015, there was a fellow( name withheld) who openly declared himself as a ‘gay’. This was very strange in our setting, he was chased out of campus and when into hiding for months and later the securities helped him to leave the country live in exile.  With this marginalized group, Administrators in some universities in Liberia have been working to make sure that there are justice and equity for these groups.  

 They need social justice which is about dispensing resources impartially and giving all students justifiably so that they feel nonviolent and protected—substantially and mentally.

With my experience in Liberia especially as an administrator of higher institutions of learning, students with disabilities especially the virtually impaired students go through a lot of difficulties to learn. Higher institutions of learning need to adequately accommodate these students to have access to equal rights, equal opportunity, and equal treatment.  Like the AME University, it had a collaboration with the Rotary Lions Club, Liberia Chapter to build a special school for the virtually impaired students for special education,  Despondently, a look at universities across Liberia makes it clear that there is still a need for improvement to accommodate  Carrying social justice into universities sparkles a focus on all categories of significant societal problems.

  This lack of support for LGBTQ students stems from a variety of causes.

Some instructors reported feeling uncomfortable talking to their students about sexuality due to their beliefs or perceptions about what’s appropriate—often conflating sexual orientation with sex—while others felt pressure from their culture and beliefs to keep tight-lipped. And a lack of professional improvement on how to address LGBTQ issues and bullying has left instructors ill-equipped to establish LGBTQ-inclusive cultures or to identify anti-LGBTQ behaviors and harassment. Meanwhile, the emergence of highly politicized issues like allowing transgender students to use bathrooms aligned with their identity has raised the LGBTQ profile generally but made constructive dialogue harder.

While there has been an increased interest in training educators on topics like inherent bias and equity and inclusion, these pieces of training may not often include LGBTQ issues because most school systems aren’t requesting it, according to educators and advocacy groups. And when teachers have asked for training, some report that they’ve faced reluctance from administrators who said they need to focus on other priorities.

This undermines several fundamental human rights, including LGBT students’ rights to education, personal security, freedom from discrimination, access to information, free expression, association, and privacy. In short, being LGBT in West Africa is not easy. Homophobia is rampant, discrimination is frequent, and stigmatization is common. Legal barriers prevent LGBT persons from equal treatment, and even in countries without such barriers, social attitudes are often strong and pervasive enough to achieve the same end. Political leaders are sometimes generally hostile towards LGBT persons, and some countries in the region categorically reject official calls from the UN to respect the human rights of LGBT persons.LGBT communities do vary from country to country within the West Africa region. Based on the research in this project, the situation for gays is best in Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, and Cote d’Ivoire, where there are some relative tolerance and freedom. The situation is worst in some countries like Senegal, Gambia, and Nigeria, where gays are sometimes actively castigated and/or imprisoned. The case in Nigeria is particularly bad because it recently enacted stricter anti-LGBT laws. Though Mauritania still has the harshest laws against homosexuality, it is also one of the countries where the subject is most taboo, along with Niger and Guinea.

Despite these challenges, there is still hope that the situation can improve. Most countries do have active pro-LGBT groups that work to change mentalities.  And pro-LGBT opinion pieces reports do occasionally appear in local media. LGBT leaders in the region all express a common willingness to partner with development organizations such as USAID. Robbie Corey-Boulet, an Institute of Current World Affairs Fellow studying LGBT advocacy in West Africa.  It can be problematic when these emerging  LGBT  groups face donor requirements that they are officially recognized by the state and that they have previous experience managing large grants. In any case, despite the difficulties they face, LGBT leaders in the region are optimistic that over time they can work together to build a more inclusive and more equitable society.






Global Encyclopedia of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) History 

Covers LGBTQ topics globally, and with an interdisciplinary approach that includes film, literature, human rights, politics, landmark legislation, activism, the arts, language, sports, and historical events.

Includes searchable entries listed by country.

Encyclopedia with a broad survey of entries on U.S. LGBT history.

“[F]ocuses on LGBTQ issues and identity primarily through the lenses of psychology, human development, and sociology, emphasizing queer, feminist and ecological perspectives on the topic.”

Entries on a broad range of contemporary topics related to LGBTQ culture in the United States.

Full-text Wiley e-book version of the 2007 volume.

Includes entries on ACT UP, LGBT Movement, Gay Liberation Front, Queer Theory, Transgender Movement, and more.

A database designed to help researchers discover comics that tell a wide range of LGBTQ stories.

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