Western, C/African leaders commit to quality education- World Bank



Ministers of Finance and Education from Western and Central Africa have committed to delivering better access to quality education for young people across the region.

This is contained in a statement obtained from the World Bank website in Abuja on Tuesday by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

The statement stated that the ministers who made the commitment at a one-day meeting in Accra, Ghana, also called for the need to advance reforms in education.

“In a joint call for action endorsed at the meeting, the ministers and heads of delegations emphasised that advancing education reforms will require strong leadership, sound governance, and better implementation.

“It will also require more investments in high-impact interventions, and a whole-of-society and government approach.”

The statement quoted the Vice-President of Ghana as saying, “We will not be able to deliver change without building and sustaining political momentum in the region.

“In many of the region’s countries, more efforts are needed to rationalise the governance of education systems to achieve greater coherence, cooperation, and coordination”.

The statement quoted Ousmane Diagana, World Bank Vice-President for Western and Central Africa as saying, “education systems across Western and Central Africa are facing an unprecedented crisis exacerbated by COVID-19.”

Diagana said learning losses represented an alarming manifestation of the current education challenge.

” However, countries are committed to addressing it and we are mobilised to support them through financial resources and expert advice,” he said.

On primary education, the statement stated that  the ministers committed to reducing learning poverty in the region.

” The share of 10-year-olds who are unable to read and understand a short text, which affects more than 80 per cent of children across the region. This is among the highest rate in the world.”

On secondary and tertiary education, the statement said the delegation agreed to focus on the importance of increasing girls’ secondary school enrollment.

It said they also agreed to improve tertiary education enrollment, especially in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and other disciplines relevant to the region’s labour markets, and monitor relevant indicators to track progress.

The statement said during the event, that the new World Bank regional education strategy, “From School to Jobs: A Journey for the Young People of Western and Central Africa” was unveiled.

“This will provide a roadmap for investments to improve learning and equip young people with the right skills to access productive jobs.”

It said the ministers highlighted the importance of adapting the priorities of the World Bank regional education strategy to the different country contexts and translating them into real investments and actions on the ground.

The statement said the meeting was attended by ministers from 18 countries, as well as representatives from regional organisations and development partners including the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund.

Others were United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office, the US Agency for International Development and Japan International Cooperation Agency(NAN)