31.10.2017 - UNESCO Office in Dakar

Education, a shared responsibility

©Godfrey Mwampembva (GADO)

The day after its global launch, the Global education monitoring report (GEM) 2017-18 entitled “Accountability in education: meeting our commitments” was launched on 25 October 2017 for the West and Central African region. This event was organized by UNESCO and the Regional coordination group on SDG4-Education 2030 in West and Central Africa (RCG4-WCA), bringing together around fifty participants, with numerous representatives of development partners in education. It allowed for an in-depth exchange of views between different families of actors on each one’s responsibility in the realization of the right to education.

The launch of the GEM report represents, every year, an opportunity for education actors to get together in order to address progress made towards SDG4 and to reflect on a particular topic, this year’s being accountability in education. Fueled by the conclusions and recommendations of the report, the discussions focused on collective action and shared responsibility, a very timely debate given the educational context characterized by the multiplication of actors.

Indeed, while governments remain the guarantors of the right to education, SDG4 is an ambitious goal that cannot be achieved without the efforts and support of all actors, including non-state actors such as development partners, civil society, teachers, economic actors, communities, families or students. This reconfiguration of the educational context requires that the roles and responsibilities of each stakeholder be clearly defined, known and engaged.

As the “voice of the voiceless” according to the words of ANCEFA regional coordinator Ms. Teopista Birungi, civil society has a key role to play, in order to make governments accountable though awareness raising, organization and mobilization of communities. At the same time, civil society organizations are aware that they themselves are accountable to the communities they serve. Citizen-led assessments presented here by Ms. Binta Rassouloula Aw Sall of the PAL Network (Peoples Action for Learning Network), are at the interface between research, communities and decision makers. These can contribute to improving accountability in education, including non-formal education, by fueling advocacy and policy dialogue. Through communication with families, capacity building and community mobilization, they have an impact on the development of sector policies. Finally, for M. Marc Bernal, representative of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, the production, collection and analysis of data, in a holistic approach and based on the collaboration of all actors, are of major importance to improve accountability. In addition, it should be ensured that these data are credible, reliable, and widely disseminated to all concerned users.

In sum, this launch was a great opportunity to reflect on the challenges faced by West and Central Africa regarding shared responsibility, and to re-think current models of existing education systems, the appropriateness of the actions carried out by partners and the relevance of their contributions for quality and inclusive education for all. In particular, the discussions focused on how different approaches on accountability can contribute to the realization of SDG4 and other SDGs. Finally, quoting the closing words of the RCG4 Chair, Mr. Gwang-Chol Chang, “We hope that this is only the beginning and that reflections on this issue will continue after this event with all the stakeholders, within the framework of the RCG4 and beyond”.

More information on UNESCO Dakar website.

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