Let’s heed President’s advice on education investment

Due to the importance of education in the development of nations, all right-thinking members of the society expect that it should top development plans globally.

However, some countries, in certain circumstances, prioritise other aspects of the economy to the neglect of education, the main driver of the progress of society.

Therefore, when people who do not compromise on the significance of education are given opportunity to speak about this universal subject, they do not mince words regarding the need to always prioritise it.

When President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo took his turn on Monday to address the 215th Meeting of the Executive Board of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) running in Paris, France, from October 5-19, 2022, he charged member states to ensure that education remain a priority on their development agenda.

He admitted, though, that countries would have many problems to fix, some emergencies, they should not allow education to play second fiddle on their development plan, no matter the circumstances. 

The recently-appointed Domestic Financing Champion of the Global Partnership for Education expressed worry that due to global instability, education had become one of many competing priorities of domestic budgets, with development aid earmarked for the sector seriously coming under pressure.  

The President supported his point with the fact that countries reduced their spending on education following the outbreak of COVID-19, while direct aid to education by bilateral donors fell by some $359 million.

He said in addition that prospects for reaching funding target through voluntary contributions were uncertain as a good number of long-term donors had already reduced significantly their voluntary contributions to UNESCO due to a change in development cooperation priorities, thereby seriously impacting programme implementation.

The Ghanaian Times shares the appeal from President Akufo-Addo because apart from the knowledge and skills it provides people to earn a living and better their lot, education dispels ignorance and prepares the mind to accept change for the better and to raise Gross Domestic product (GDP).

In fact, some of the problems of humanity, particularly in developing countries, are due to lack or low level of education.

Diseases, squalor, lawlessness, unplanned communities, refusal to pay tax and the inability of the populace to hold leaders to account, just to mention a few, are all due to lack of appreciable level of education to deal with the status quo.

A World Bank study, carried out in 2003, agreed that good allocation and high quality of education ensured the growth and development of the Asian Tigers, which are the four high-growth Asian economies, namely Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan.

In fact, less-developed and developing countries should take Nana Akufo-Addo’s advice seriously and prioritise education because studies have shown that when nations do so for a good period, they reap the benefits such that subsequently they would spend less on education and yet reap even more benefits.

The so-called Northern countries, such as Norway, Finland, Sweden, Holland, for example, are said to have invested in human capital (education and training) and achieved very high GDP  per inhabitant, as a result of which they now have some of the most successful education systems, but offering education at low costs.

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