of the study
Education Forum held in Dakar in April 2000 set out six broad
goals that reaffirmed the need to offer basic education for all.
One hundred and eighty countries committed themselves to meeting
this challenge. In quantitative terms, this involves 115 million
children who were not enrolled in school in 2002, 42.5 million
of them in Sub-Saharan Africa, with twice as many non-enrolled
girls as boys.
to be met is posed not only in terms of quantity, but also quality.
In many schools, especially in the poor countries, educational
quality is so poor that even after several years pupils have not
acquired a basic schooling, that is, the minimum skills needed
to read, write and count. As a consequence, if we do not pay sufficient
attention to improving the quality of education, the movement
in favor of basic education for all could result in a terrible
waste. A waste, because important resources will be invested,
with no improvement in learning results, and also a waste because
the children, the adults of the future, may well remain illiterate
despite their schooling.
goal of education for all by 2015 thus means paying renewed attention
to the quality of education in Africa.
This is the situation in which the ADEA steering committee set
up an ad hoc group to conduct a study entitled, The challenge
of learning: Improving the quality of basic education in Sub-Saharan
Africa, in order to support the efforts of the African countries
that are trying to meet the challenge of basic education for all.
The goal of
this exercise is to effectively focus the attention and efforts
of the African countries and their partners on the challenges
posed in improving quality in the process of Education for All.
In other words, this exercise and the accompanying process aim
at: (i) conducting a wide-ranging discussion on the relevant policies,
strategies and practices implemented to improve the quality of
basic education, while taking into consideration the specific
situations in which these have been established, (ii) promoting
the development of more solid political visions and greater commitment,
and (iii) developing a culture of quality among everyone involved
has been built on two cornerstones: the analysis of national experience
and a review of the African literature. This approach, the first
centered on endogenous experiences and knowledge, deliberately
emphasizes the search for African solutions to African problems
as well as mutual learning.
The country case studies are a key element in this process, as
they will be used to establish the basis for a support framework
for identifying and making decisions about strategic options to
improve educational quality.
studies deal with at least one of four central themes:
renovation and teacher training
and alternative education systems
- The relevance
of education: Curriculum adaptation and the use of African languages
The ADEA Biennial
Meeting in December 2003 is to be organized around the theme and
the results of this effort. This will provide a great opportunity
for collegial discussion where there will undoubtedly be intense
exchanges between ministers, agency representatives, educational
professionals and representatives of civil society about many
issues, including the technical and scientific aspects, the political
and social dimensions, the problems of cost and funding, design
and implementation mechanisms, etc.
methodology used to conduct the study is based on the practical
approach so dear to the ADEA, which runs through all its activities;
its leitmotiv is learning through action, learning from
action to develop and improve action. This is based on a
participatory approach that, above all, involves the concerned
countries in exchanging their experiences and sharing their knowledge
to develop a broader vision, cultural roots and institutional
and technical capacities to constantly improve educational quality.
exercise in educational quality will involve several levels:
- The countries
taking part in this effort have set up national teams that are
responsible for carrying out a case study before 15 May 2003.
- For each
theme, one or two education specialists (called theme
coordinators) will provide technical support to the national
teams and draw up a theme summary that will put in perspective
the lessons learned in the case studies in comparison with international
documents. Thirty source documents have been identified. All
the subjects are related to the theme of educational quality.
These documents will be edited by the theme coordinators, with
the help of the ADEA working groups, the bilateral and multilateral
agencies, and education specialists.
- The African
research networks ROCARE and ERNESA have been involved in this
exercise in searching existing African literature on educational
a discussion document will be drawn up on the basis of all this
work, and will be presented to the Biennial Meeting.