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Ghana’s Education Minister Advocates for Enhanced Collaboration to Boost Learning Outcomes in Africa

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Ghana Education Minister Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum
Ghana Education Minister Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum

Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum, Ghana’s Education Minister, has urged African nations to enhance collaboration with non-state actors to improve learning outcomes for children across the continent.

Held in parallel to the Education World Forum (EWF) programme, the Minister spoke at the “Innovative Partnerships at Scale to Achieve SDG 4 in Africa” side event, held during EWF in London on May 21st, 2024. Dr. Adutwum highlighted the critical role of partnerships in achieving Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) – ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education for all.

Joining Dr. Adutwum on the panel discussion was Hon. Dr. Jarso Jallah, Minister for Education, Liberia; Hon. Conrad Sackey, Minister for Basic and Senior Secondary Education, Sierra Leone; and Alicia Herbert OBE, Director for Education, Gender and Equalities for the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO). The event was hosted by the Global Schools Forum, with support from the IDP Foundation, the Jacobs Foundation, and the Vitol Foundation at One Great George Street in Westminster.

Dr. Adutwum attended a series of meetings and events of a similar nature to Global Schools Forum’s gathering of Sub-Saharan African education ministers during his overseas visit. Joining a EWF Ministerial breakfast event, Dr. Adutwum joined others in highlighting the progress that Ghana has made in spearheading collaboration in education.

Ghana Leading the Way in Educational Collaboration

“Ghana is proud to be an early adopter of partnerships with the non-state sector,” Dr. Adutwum stated. He emphasized the importance of measuring the impact of these collaborations and tracking data on non-state providers to showcase their benefits for human capital development.

Education Ministers from Sierra Leone, Zambia, and Malawi also participated in the breakfast event, committing to increased collaboration with non-state actors as a key strategy to enhance educational outcomes in their countries.

A Unified Approach to Address Africa’s Learning Crisis

This focus on collaboration is part of a broader movement across Africa to tackle the continent’s learning crisis. The Ministerial Breakfast at the Education World Forum brought together African Ministers of Education and international organizations, including UNICEF, The World Bank, and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. This gathering reinforced the growing commitment of African leaders to address educational challenges.

Notable Participants:

  • Hon. Douglas Syakalima, Zambian Education Minister, representing President Hakainde Hichilema as the Champion for Foundational Learning (FL) in Africa.
  • Dr. Obiageli ‘Oby’ Ezekwesili, Former Nigerian Minister of Education and President/Founder of Human Capital Africa.
  • Ministers of Education from Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Malawi, Senegal, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, South Africa, Angola, and Somalia.

The Importance of Addressing the Learning Crisis

A significant portion of African students (9 out of 10) lack basic literacy and numeracy skills, which hinders academic progress, workforce readiness, and overall economic growth. Support from development partners is often fragmented, making it difficult to address the learning crisis effectively. Inadequate teacher training, resources, and incentives, especially in rural areas, further hinder the delivery of quality education.

Key Takeaways from the Meeting:

  1. African Leaders Taking Ownership: There is an urgency to address the learning crisis, with countries like Malawi and Sierra Leone implementing initiatives to improve learning outcomes.
  2. Focus on Evidence-Based Interventions: Emphasis on data-driven approaches to inform policy, measure progress, and ensure accountability.
  3. Integrated Solutions: Collaboration among policymakers, development partners, and stakeholders to deliver integrated Foundational Learning and Numeracy (FLN) programs.
  4. Scaling Successful Initiatives: Efforts to scale up initiatives such as Structured Pedagogy (SP) and Teaching at the Right Level (TaRL).

What’s Next?

Leveraging Key Events:

  • Utilize the African Union Year of Education (AUYoE) to solidify FL as the cornerstone of Africa’s future education strategy.
  • Implement recommendations from the ADEA High-Level Policy Dialogue (Zambia, November 2023) to strengthen FL.
  • Champion FL at the African Union Mid-Year Summit (Ghana, July 2024) and the FLEX ADEA Policy Dialogue (Rwanda, November 2024).

Taking Collective Action:

  • Implement the Call to Action released by Human Capital Africa & ADEA at the AU Summit (February 2024), outlining specific actions for stakeholders to improve FL outcomes.
  • Develop a continental FL scorecard to track commitments made by African nations, fostering transparency and accountability.

The collaboration between African governments and non-state actors is crucial for improving learning outcomes on the continent. By focusing on evidence-based interventions, integrated solutions, and scaling up successful initiatives, Africa can address its learning crisis and ensure quality education for all.

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