African governments urged to make
basic education priority
Accra, April 2, GNA - Papa Owusu-Ankomah, Minister of
Education, Science and Sports, on Monday called on African
governments to make basic education a priority to ensure
sustainable growth and to meet the development needs of the
He said the social and economic development in Africa
depended mostly on the Continent's ability to mobilize,
educate, and train the youth for the challenges of the 21st
This, he said, called for increased attention, greater
efforts and a balanced approach to the development of
Papa Owusu-Ankomah was speaking at the opening of the
three-day Third Regional Conference on Secondary Education
in Africa (SEIA) in Accra.
The Conference, being hosted by the Ministry of Education,
Science and Sports, is sponsored jointly by the World Bank's
Africa Region Human Development Department, the Association
for the Development of Education in Africa and the World
It has brought together 30 African Ministers and their
country teams, donor agencies and representatives from
African civil society.
It aims at fostering better dialogue on secondary education
and training in Africa among donor organizations, key
stakeholders and African governments.
Papa Owusu-Ankomah said secondary education should be a
leading concern and should focus more on serving society
"This will not be achieved by producing students, who have
mostly memorized facts."
He said modern secondary school graduates needed to master
good skills of problem identification, problem solving and
teamwork, and the fundamentals of science, mathematics,
languages, social skills and ICT.
The Minister said a secondary education graduate's profile
should be different from just being academically prepared to
go to the university, because that approach was still
producing failures at the end of secondary cycles.
"Significant expansion of access to secondary education is
therefore not a choice but an imperative. The only option is
to risk breakdowns and inadequacies that will create social
and political tensions and conflicts that will prove
increasingly difficult to handle later."
Papa Owusu-Ankomah noted that to move in the direction of
such major changes, African countries needed a serious
review of a number of their policies, including that
concerning financing and managing of secondary education.
He said it was essential to diversify funding sources
because it was obvious that while public financing could
ensure access for everyone to basic levels, secondary and
higher education would need the contributions of
communities, families and the private sector in order to
continue to develop.
"We must understand and assume, with courage and lucidity,
that we have no choice other than a duty of equity and
development, which require that we provide all young people
with the minimum education needed for a decent and useful
existence in our time."
The Accra Conference seeks to discuss the SEIA synthesis
report, which reflects the work by the Africa Region's SEIA
team and African and international educators over the past
Discussions would particularly focus on the conclusions and
recommendations of the SEIA report, reaching consensus
between major stakeholders on realistic strategic solutions
for sustainable expansion of post-primary education and
training, and improving harmonization of donor support and
capacity building for SEIA.