02.03.2015 - UNESCO Office in Dakar

Kigali Ministerial Conference outlines post-2015 education agenda for sub-Saharan Africa

Dr Qian Tang, ADG for Education during his opening speech© UNESCO/A.Ntwali

Sub-Saharan African countries speak with one voice on the post-2015 education agenda for Africa.

At the recent sub-Saharan Africa Regional Ministerial Conference on Education Post-2015 (Kigali, Rwanda, 9-11 February 2015), African countries, the African Union (AU) and other education partners adopted a statement to promote the development of education across the region. The goal is to contribute to the African vision of peace, prosperity and integration as defined in the 2063 agenda for Africa.

After noting the uneven dynamics of progress across the region in terms of achieving the objectives of Education for All (EFA) and the Second Decade of Education for Africa, the statement endorses the overall objective of the Muscat Agreement, namely to "ensure equitable and inclusive quality education and lifelong learning for all by 2030."

44 out of 47 countries present

The Kigali conference had a large turn out, with 44 out of 47 countries from the sub-Saharan region and 27 ministers present at the event. More than 300 participants gathered in Kigali, including civil societies, teachers’ organizations, NGOs, media, UN Agencies, bilateral and multilateral development partners, inter-governmental organizations, youth representatives, academia, and a variety of education experts.

Prospects for the post-2015 education agenda

Among the prospects for the post-2015 education agenda in sub-Saharan Africa are,

(i) reaffirmation of the commitment to induce changes in educational paradigms necessary for the effectiveness of a quality and lifelong education as a fundamental human right and an imperative for sustainable development; and

(ii) the reconsideration of the policies and strategies and the definition of targets to meet new priorities in the sub-Saharan African context, cutting across all education levels through an integrated approach that promotes sustainable development.

Thus, to accomplish a breakthrough to achieve the vision of sub-Saharan Africa, particular attention will be paid to quality, equity, gender equality and inclusion, teachers, skills development, governance and leadership, innovation, regional cooperation, and funding.

Nine priority areas

Nine priority areas of action have been define for the future sub-Saharan Africa education agenda:

  1. Equitable and inclusive access for all
  2. Inclusion, equity and gender equality
  3. Teachers and teaching
  4. Education quality and learning outcomes
  5. Science. technology, and skills development
  6. Education for sustainable development and global citizenship education
  7. Youth and adult literacy, skills and competencies for life and work
  8. Finance, governance and partnerships
  9. Education in crisis situations

Progress relative to access and gender


Mr. Qian Tang, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Education, noted significant progress in EFA between 2000 and 2012 in the region. Many children have been granted access to adequate schooling, and the gender parity index has increased dramatically.

This progress can be observed on the EFA Development Index; however, it is important to note that the positive results do not obscure the challenges. Mr. Tang indicated that close to 30 million children are currently out of school, among which 55% are girls. Other areas cited for improvement are drop-out rates, employment for graduates, and a shortage of teachers.

Corrective measures needed

Moving forward, it is necessary to consider corrective measures that will consolidate the progress made in terms of access, equity and quality. This will allow EFA to effectively contribute to the betterment of contemporary education, not just for the SSA region, but worldwide. The results of the Kigali conference will formulate the Common African Position that will carry the voice of the continent at the World Education Forum, to be held in Incheon, South Korea (19-22 May 2015). The Forum will be decisive for the future of education post-2015.

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