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10.01.2006 Education

Africa should set up its own educational standards


Accra, Jan. 10, GNA - African governments have imposed colonial educational standards on its people for so long and it was time for them to set up their own standards to suit their own situations based on their own criteria, Mr Thulas Nxesi, President of Education International (EI) of South Africa, said on Tuesday.

He said the standards needed to be debated and every African country should come out with its own type of standard but that should not be measured with those of the Western countries because they were far advanced.

Mr Nxesi was speaking to the GNA after delivering the keynote address at the Second Quadrennial and 49th National Delegates' Conference under the theme: "Eradicating Poverty Through Education" in Accra.

The four-day conference attracted 750 delegates from all over Ghana. It is reviewing the five-year development plan for 2002-2006; discuss the Report of Presidential Commission on Pensions; Capitation Grant, Computerised School Selection System and elect national officers.

Mr Nxesi said, Educational standards in Africa had been British versus American but we have to set up our own standards... quality could be judged by the type of citizens who have the values that the country cherished.

African governments had to interpret African culture, look at what was needed in the job market and the new trends in information technology.

Mr Nxesi said educational standards were falling because governments were using cheap, lowly qualified teachers who were ill motivated and were, therefore, not able to provide the type of quality education that was needed.

He said the resources needed to support education were shrinking now with many schools lacking the proper infrastructure and congenial environment for effective learning.

"In our present African situation some rural areas do not have proper classrooms and even teachers and pupils find it tough to measure up to those with all the facilities that make learning very easier." He said school fees was a major barrier, especially to pupils from poor backgrounds and commended the government for implementing the capitation grant saying the ultimate aim of education for all was to make education free and compulsory so that the poor would also have access to education which had the long term effect of eradicating poverty.

He said in the western world the educated people were products of free schooling provided by their governments and that was why it was the duty of African governments to ensure that every child of school going age was in school.

He said university education was expensive and thus inaccessible to the poor and that governments should work out special financial schemes that would help students to pursue higher education to the university level.

He said, "instead of African governments to manage the resources properly we have politicians only enjoying good lives to the detriment of the poor and the voiceless majority". He said to stop the brain drain governments should create attractive conditions of service so that educational workers would stay instead of going out to seek greener pastures. 10 Jan. 06