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02.04.2007 Editorial

Secondary education conference opens in Accra

By dailyExpress

The 3rd Secondary Education in Africa Regional Conference opens in Accra this morning under the auspices of the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports. The conference is organized by the World Bank's Africa Region Human Development Department (SEIA team), the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) and the World Bank Institute.

Over 30 African Ministers, their country teams, donor agencies and representatives from African civil society are attending the three-day conference. The previous SEIA conferences were held in Uganda (2003) and Senegal (Dakar 2004).

The objectives of the conference are the discussion of the SEIA Synthesis report which reflects the work by the Africa Region's SEIA team and African and international educators over the past three years. The objectives of the conference also include fostering a better dialogue on secondary education and training in Africa among donor organizations, key stakeholders, and African governments

Sustainable secondary education and training delivery in Africa requires national strategies that take into account issues linked to the quality and relevance of secondary graduate output, efficient public and private financing mechanisms, and improved skills for the labor market.

At present only about 35 percent of African youth completes junior secondary education and an even smaller proportion continues to senior secondary education. In view of the global economic and social challenges and growing competition in the market place Africa needs to improve the quality and relevance of knowledge and skills of its workforce.

More access to secondary education and training and better quality and more relevant knowledge and skills among African youth is one of the key factors that will significantly reduce poverty.

The priority for Sub-Saharan African countries is to achieve the MDG of universal primary Education for All (EFA) by 2015. In addition, there is consensus that post-primary education development can not be neglected for economic growth and social reasons.

The organizing partners hope that the third Regional SEIA Conference will result in participating countries having a stronger political and technical commitment to transforming their secondary education and training sub-sectors in a sustainable manner and that the conference will generate more donor support for reform and capacity building.

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