Accelerating Education for All in Africa: Technical meeting opens in Luanda, Angola
African countries need to invest more in education, said Ann Therese Ndong-Jatta, Director of UNESCO’s Regional Office in Dakar.
She spoke at the official opening of the technical meeting of the 2nd Regional Education For All (EFA) Acceleration Meeting under the Big Push Initiative on 18 October 2013. The 3-day meeting is taking place at the Victoria Garden Hotel in Luanda, Angola.
“Africa has the highest percentage of illiterates and out-of-school children. As Africans if we must claim the 21st century, we must be prepared to invest in the education for the totality of our population,” Mrs Ndong Jatta said.
The Big Push is an initiative developed and coordinated by UNESCO, and in particular the UNESCO Regional Office in Dakar, to support selected sub-Saharan African countries to start a process of re-defining EFA priorities and developing acceleration efforts with urgent and strategic actions. This is being done through the mobilisation of stronger political and financial commitment at the country, regional and global levels.
Mrs Ndong Jatta commended the eight countries that volunteered to engage in the Education for All acceleration process in March 2013, noting that the meeting will review the progress made and share experiences to lend support to build the capacity of the second phase countries.
She lauded the initiative of the Angolan government in hosting the second meeting in collaboration with UNESCO and partners and expressed appreciation of the partnership created in the acceleration process.
Concern about Africa's future
In officially opening the meeting, Mrs. Ana Paula Ines Ndala Fernandes, Angola's State Secretary of Education. described the meeting as a landmark event for the acceleration of the six Education for All goals, which will provide an opportunity to ensure political and financial support of government and partners.
Mrs. Ana Fernandes pointed out that the main objective of Angola’s national education development plan 2013 – 2017 is to ensure stability, growth and employment. In this regard she added that the government of Angola is working to ensure teaching quality, expand the school network and improve the quality of teachers and school managers.
Angola, Mrs Fernandes said, is not only concerned about the future of education in the country but in Africa as a whole. “This is why we are assisting UNESCO to promote the Big Push at the continental level,” she said.
Recommendations for Ministerial meeting
The official opening was followed by country presentations of EFA acceleration progress looking at status, challenges, opportunities and future plans of the first round countries.
In the next two days participants will focus on analyzing the progress made by first-round countries, as well as introduce second round countries to the Big Push guidelines.
Recommendations of the technical meeting will be presented at the Ministerial meeting that will follow immediately from 21 to 22 October in Luanda.
The meeting is organized by the UNESCO Education for All Coordination in Africa, with support of the Government of Angola brought together participants from 18 African countries that are unlikely to achieve all six Education for All goals.
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