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Africa acknowledges crucial role of qualified teachers

Teachers’ professional development represents one of the three main pillars of the Second Decade of Education for Africa. The other two pillars are formal and non-formal vocational education and training, and higher education. These pillars were reaffirmed by the Conference for Ministers of Education of Africa (COMEDAF V) in Abuja, Nigeria, on 23-27 April. EI actively participated in this event, which was hosted by the Africa Union Commission and the Federal Ministry of Education of Nigeria.

Among the other participants were Peter Mabande of the Pan African Teachers’ Centre, Ministers and top officials of 34 countries, and representatives of the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA), UNESCO, UNICEF, civil society organisations, the Africa diaspora, and partners from Europe and America.

EI participation

EI participated in discussions by the civil society round table. It also presented its Quality Educators project, a response to the lack of qualified teachers in Africa, and engaged in working sessions with partners such as UNESCO and ADEA.

EI further participated in the analysis of the implementation of the Action Plan for the Second Decade of Education for Africa.

It also contributed to the evaluation of recommendations made by the Pan-African Conference on Teachers’ Development (PACTED I), held in Lomé in April 2011. EI was acknowledged as one of the key partners in the implementation of the PACTED II Action Plan.

A new COMEDAF Bureau was elected for the next two years, to be chaired by the Nigerian Education Minister, H.E. Prof. Ruqayyatu Ahmed Rufaï.

African countries must respond to educators’ concerns

“EI welcomes the fact that COMEDAF took African educators’ concerns into account,” said EI Chief regional coordinator Assibi Napoe. “We also wish to reaffirm that, at national level, African governments must engage in open dialogue in good faith with affiliates, solving education-related issues through negotiations with education unions. Officials must not systematically blame trade unions when they go on strike or when solutions can not be found.”

EI supported the ANCEFA - the 35-member Africa Network Campaign for Education for All - statement promoting and pushing for the right to quality education for all, Napoe added. “Education is a fundamental human right and important for sustainable development, but is facing significant challenges in most African countries.”

Achieving

The civil society round table called on the African Union and Member States’ leadership to work together with civil society organisations and partners towards achieving the Education for All (EFA) and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Africa's collective vision in education, as articulated in the African Union’s Plan of Action for the Second Decade of Education for Africa.

To accelerate progress towards EFA and MDGs in Africa, civil society organisations called on COMEDAF V to make critical decisions and demanded urgent action by African states and regional bodies, including:

  • Prioritising inclusive education at all levels of education to achieve equitable access, especially for girls, children with disabilities, and other vulnerable groups
  • Improving quality and relevance of education by paying due attention to teacher training
  • Teacher incentives
  • Ensuring that the curriculum contributes to positive knowledge, skills, attitudes, values and practices

Better education funding

Challenges in education financing, the ANCEFA statement noted, can be addressed through:

  • Adopting innovative sources - such as domestic financing through taxation and contributions from industries to minimise the reliance on external aid
  • Increasing investment in early childhood care and education, adult literacy, girls’ education and life skills, and vocational training for young people
  • Enhanced management of resources allocated to education
  • Ensuring transparency, accountability and zero tolerance to corruption

To read the full report of the COMEDAF V ministerial meeting, please click here.

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