Stakeholders meet in Accra to discuss education in Africa

A regional forum aimed at enhancing discussions on strengthening social and policy dialogue in the education sector in Africa on Tuesday opened in Accra.

The two-day forum, which was organised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), in partnership with Education International, a global Union Federation of Teachers, brought together officials from the ministries, international organisations including UNICEF, as well as representatives from teachers and teacher unions from Ghana, Uganda, Malawi and Burkina-Faso.

   Mr Abdourahamane Diallo, the Country Representative, UNESCO, said the forum would be a good opportunity for participants to share and discuss good practices on effective social and policy dialogue, while developing a common understanding of the main challenges, identifying actions to address them, and developing ultimate strategies to overcome them.

The event, he said was timely considering the fact that Ghana’s educational system was currently undergoing some form of restructuring to help improve teaching and learning, and urged the participants to openly share their respective country experiences and best practices for others to learn.

Madam Assibi Napoe, the Chief Regional Coordinator of the African Regional Office of Education International, in her introductory remarks, underscored the importance of stakeholders’ dialogue to propel Africa towards the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals, especially the (SDG 4) on Education.

This, she said, hinged on inclusiveness, equitable and quality education, and required the revitalisation of the teaching profession which should be done in partnership with the beneficiaries for effective outcomes.

She said the objective of the Federation among other things was, therefore, to support and promote the professional freedoms of teachers and education employees, and further ensure the right of their organisations to participate in the formulation and implementation of educational policies.

   Madam Napoe said to ensure this, the international systems with UNESCO have also put in place a strategy for partnerships through dialogue and had over the past few years been going round to assess the educational systems of countries in the African Region.

She said such dialogues would enable Africa to address the gaps within their educational systems to avoid the cycle of crisis that often led to strike actions.

Ms Haldis Holst, Deputy General Secretary of Education International, called for the need to put in place policies that met the needs of people, and further to strike a balance between theory and practical.

She explained that social dialogue was all about equal partnership and involvement, and was based on trust between stakeholders in resolving conflicting views before their eruption into complicated disputes.

Ms Gifty Anyogbey Apanbil, the Deputy General Secretary of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), admitted to the importance of strengthening social and policy dialogue among stakeholders in the restructuring of the educational systems to ensure effective implementation.

She indicated that the ultimate objective of all teachers was to ensure fair and quality education for the benefit of all children, and would support any initiative aimed at promoting this agenda through partnerships and effective dialogue to ensure the attainment of the SGD goal 4. GNA

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