Wassce Ho

The COVID-19 pandemic has compounded the learning crisis in Africa by severely limiting access to education. By early April 2020, the crisis had left more than 20 million pre-primary, 160 million primary, 56 million secondary, and eight million tertiary level learners out of school, with no access to continued learning and teaching facilities across the continent.

People are the most important of all resources. In the next 15 years, 450 million young Africans will be looking to either find or create a job for themselves. Will they be able to build a career in one of the emerging sectors? Will they have the right skills and competences to meet the evolving demands of the labour market? The answer is yes – yes, the action is taken now.

It is crucial that to invest in the future and allocate adequate funds to education today, enabling the necessary reforms. The European Union (EU) intends to increase spending on education in partner countries covered by the International Partnerships portfolio from seven percent to 10%. The African Union (AU) encourages its Member States to increase their budget allocations for education, and to improve overall domestic resource mobilisation. Mobilising more resources and improving spending are central to quality education systems and to improving resilience to future shocks.

There is also a need to innovate the development, provision and delivery of education at all levels,taking advantage of digital learning. The Continental Education Strategy for Africa (CESA 16-25) emphasises the need to harness the capacity of ICT to improve access, quality and management of education and training systems in Africa. There is no doubt that digital learning opportunities have immense potential to transform education and training through greater accessibility, affordability,and relevance. Furthermore, hybrid learning models and the application of modern technologies in other aspects of education beyond delivery is essential to guarantee the quality of learning, while reducing inefficiencies.

Partnerships will be another key part of the solution – including partnerships with civil society, the private sector, and global education partners. In the new EU–Africa Strategy, under “Partnership for sustainable growth and jobs”, the European Union aims to focus on education, skills, research and innovation in Africa. This means improving access to inclusive and equitable quality education for all.

Partnerships will be sought for developing innovative approaches and improving learning outcomes that can meet future demands, including in emerging fields, such as the digital sector and green and climate-friendly technologies. The EU will focus on supporting the availability and quality of teachers at all levels of education – it is estimated that around 17 million teachers will be needed in sub-Saharan Africa by 2030 to achieve universal primary and secondary education.

The EU is committed to working with its Member States in a “Team Europe” spirit to deliver maximum impact. In Mozambique, for example, the EU and Member States are preparing an ‘E-YOUTH’ Initiative, which will help better match competence-based vocational education and training with the needs of the market, so that young Mozambicans can access jobs more easily. The Initiative will also empower girls and women by supporting them to enter Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields of study, and by promoting coding.

Promoting innovations that safeguard gender responsive education and education for refugees, persons living with disabilities and special needs, and those living in underserved communities should also be prioritised in order to ensure these children are not disproportionately affected by the current changes in education delivery. Adopting sustainable innovations in education delivery and management in Africa means improving education quality for all, so that everyone can reach their full potential.

The education event “Building Skills for the Future” hosted by the AU, EU and UNICEF on 20 April, marked a major milestone in the partnership of the EU and AU, and in their joint work on education. They fully agreed on the importance of quality, inclusive and equitable education for all, at all levels, and the critical importance of increased investment and partnerships in achieving that.

Their joint actions will focus on strengthening education systems at all levels. They will pay particular attention to protecting the gains that Africa has made in addressing the learning crisis, to addressing inequalities in access and learning, and to matching skills with jobs. They will seek to harness the potential of digital learning and to build digital competencies, while bridging the digital divide.

Decisions on the future relationship of the two continents will be taken the EU-AU summit, but this could, however, be said today: Education will be a top priority of the EU-AU partnership, as the foundation for a successful, prosperous and sustainable future for both continents.

Authors: Jutta Urpilainen and
EU Commissioner for International Partnerships/

Prof Sarah Anyang Agbor
AU Commissioner for Education, Science, Technology and Innovation.

Disclaimer: News Ghana is not responsible for the reportage or opinions of contributors published on the website.

Send your news stories to [email protected] and via WhatsApp on +1-508-812-0505 

Previous articleMurder trial of former MP adjourned to June 14
Next articleRastafarians in schools: Achimota withdraws application for stay of execution
The Ghana news Agency (GNA) was established on March 5, 1957, i.e. on the eve of Ghana's independence and charged with the "dissemination of truthful unbiased news". It was the first news agency to be established in Sub-Saharan Africa. GNA was part of a comprehensive communication policy that sought to harness the information arm of the state to build a viable, united and cohesive nation-state. GNA has therefore been operating in the unique role of mobilizing the citizens for nation building, economic and social development, national unity and integration.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here