Paris: Association for the Development of Education in Africa, ADEA, 2006. 41 p.
Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) Biennale on Education in Africa (Libreville, Gabon, March 27-31, 2006)
Over the past years, great efforts have been made to increase the number of children that have access to education in Africa. A good number of countries have succeeded in increasing significantly the number of children enrolled in very few years. They have done so by abolishing school fees and also encouraging the development of community schools, and/or by recruiting teachers at lower costs. More funds have been mobilized for education and national and international development. On the whole, countries spent a lot more on education in 2002 than they did in 1990 and this movement is expected to accelerate. These examples illustrate that when there is political will, it is possible to increase education provision and access relatively quickly with the support of the international community. The challenge now is to increase the quality of education.A closer scrutiny of enrolment ratios in countries which have high gross enrolment ratios shows, however, that a certain proportion of school-age children still do not have access to primary education. This proportion varies between 30per cent and 60per cent of the lowest income group. Some serious factors outside of the immediate scope of action of ministries of education are preventing fulfillment of the objective of Education For All (EFA). These are extreme poverty, HIV and AIDS, conflict and emergency situations, and corruption and ineffective use of resources. This paper analyzes how each of these factors can slow down or even prevent the implementation of EFA and provides some suggestions on how to tackle such problems.The attention of policy-makers and agencies has to be drawn to the case of the least privileged sections of the population (the poor, AIDS orphans and victims of numerous conflicts), and special measures have to be devised and difficult decisions made if Education for All is to become a reality. It is a challenge for governments and educators to provide equal learning opportunities for all. It is a further challenge for governments to tackle the issue of ineffective use of resources and corruption. This will require serious political will, collaboration among various ministries and actors in society, and support from the international community.
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