In this interview, Gbovadeh Gbilia discusses his work on reforming Liberia’s teaching service and expunging ghosts from its payroll. He begins by examining his time as a senior technical advisor at the Civil Service Agency, what he learned there and how he was able to bring lessons from reforms he assisted there to his new role in the Ministry of Education. He goes on to outline the framework of the reform process, with emphasis on how to secure buy-in from governmental stakeholders, reform participants and donors. Throughout the interview, he discusses how his team secured the wins that made the reform relatively successful, and how they overcame the challenges such bold reforms are bound to face.
At the time of this interview, Gbovadeh Gbilia had served for nine months as Deputy Minister for Planning, Research & Development in the Ministry of Education under President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. He led the team that carried out the Teacher Testing and Vetting Program which eliminated more than 1,500 “ghost workers” from the teacher payroll, saving the government a substantial amount of money. Before assuming this position, he was an Assistant Minister for Fiscal Affairs and Human Resource Development at the same ministry, from 2015 to his promotion. He also worked as a senior technical advisor to the director-general of the Liberian Civil Service Agency from 2013 to 2015. Gbilia earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from California State University and a master’s in international business from the Howard University School of Business in Washington, DC.