26.04.2004 Education

African Leaders of higher education attend workshop in Accra

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Accra, April 26, GNA - Heads of Institutions of Higher Learning in Africa would on Tuesday April 27, begin a three-day workshop in Accra to examine the implications of education as a service under General Agreements on Trade and Services (GATS) of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

The Association of African Universities (AAU) in collaboration with UNESCO and the Council for Higher Education South Africa is organizing the workshop to raise stakeholders' awareness of the opportunities and challenges of the inclusion of education under GATS. It would also facilitate appropriate strategies to respond to the challenges as well as identify research priorities for informing the policy-making process.

The GATS, which came into effect in 1995, is a set of multilateral, legally enforceable rules governing international trade and services. The rules aim to regulate international trade through the promotion of progressive liberalization of trade and services, free competition among service providers and unimpeded access to national markets.

Briefing the media on Monday, Professor Akilagpa Sawyerr, Secretary-General of AAU, said it was important for decision makers on the Continent to examine the impact the opening of their education sector would have on their cultural, economic and social development. He said the AAU did not have any prescribed position on the issue but expressed the hope that the Conference would ginger up the participants to play active roles and bring their knowledge to bear in discussing the issue in their respective countries to influence good policy outcomes.

Prof Sawyerr said the meeting would develop strategies for studies and further research to enable it to make inform decision on the issue.

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