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AU’s Year of Education 2024: Our Letter to The Guardian

February 2024
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This week The Guardian reported on African Union’s announcement that their theme for 2024 is Year of Education. In their article they acknowledged some of the gains made in education in Africa over the last 20 years, but also highlighted the stark reality that the continent is still falling far too short for the world to meet SDG 4. IDP Foundation responded to the article with a letter to the editor, as posted here.

The African Union’s decision to make 2024 the year of education could not have come at a more critical time. However, African leaders, including President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana (Africa is the world’s youngest continent – education is key to unlocking its potential, 19 February), must not ignore the affordable non-state sector (ANS) as a key contributor to ensuring that all children no matter where they are, have access to education and achieve greater learning outcomes across Africa.

I wholeheartedly agree that education is crucial to unlock our continent’s potential. We want to do this at the IDP Foundation through collaboration and partnership.

In Ghana, the International Finance Corporation estimates that 40% of all schools are non-state, with enrollment rising yearly. Of these, low-fee private schools, which form the majority, are often the only resort for parents to educate their children, especially in low-income communities. For 15 years, we have funded partnerships that have supported affordable independent, sole proprietor schools through management training and access to credit. We have also worked with the Ministry of Education to create a supportive policy and regulatory environment required for the sector to complement education outcomes in Ghana. Yet, despite educating millions, the voices of the ANS and the children it supports are seldom heard across the continent.

Therefore, it is time to get all hands on deck, both state and non-state, to work together to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal for Quality Education (SDG 4). For the year of education to have a lasting impact on the continent’s growing needs, we need to focus on improving all education for all children, now.

Stephen Caleb Opuni,
Country Director, Ghana

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