Ad Hoc Working Group on Post-Primary Education

(This Ad Hoc Working Group is closed since 2008 but its progrram is now included in the activities of the ADEA''s Inter-Country Quality Nodes, ICQNs)

Because of the priority given to basic education, little attention has been given to the articulation between post-primary education, skills development and basic education. Yet today, at a time when an increasing number of countries are on their way towards realizing education for all, it is the right moment to take a strong interest in post-primary education. ADEA has decided to blaze the trail.

What is the Ad Hoc Working Group on Post-Primary Education?

In November 2004, the ADEA Steering Committee decided to establish an Ad hoc Working Group on Post-Primary Education (WGPPE) with a focus on secondary education and skills development. 
After careful consideration, participants in an Expert Meeting held in Edinburgh on April 26, 2005, unanimously agreed on recommending a holistic, integrated approach as the guiding principle for the Ad hoc Working Group on Post-Primary Education. The purpose of the meeting, which brought together specialists in secondary education and skills development, was to develop a work program. 
Specific focus is needed to support African countries with post-primary education. Several questions may be posed regarding the diverse issues: How can governments meet the massive demand from children seeking entry to secondary education? What is the best approach for meeting both the quantitative demand and the demand for quality and equity? What models of secondary education should be promoted? What educational reforms are necessary to meet both the needs of local contexts and those of international standards? How can expenses and funding requirements be met? How can a massive skills development effort be integrated within post-primary education and, indeed, at what point? Can efficient African policies and practices be identified? How can the quality of training be ensured along with its appropriateness to the formal and informal sectors? What can be done when faced with the limited budgets of education ministries for financing skills development and secondary education? How best to manage the coexistence of service providers outside the ministry of education, which alone is not capable of ensuring education and training needed?

What are the objectives of the Ad Hoc working group?

The main objective of the WGPPE is to help the countries of sub-Saharan Africa give post-primary education all the importance it deserves so as to ensure sustainable economic and social development. Three specific objectives exemplify the main objective of the WGPPE. First, it should advocate assigning a larger place to post-primary education by the ministries of education and elucidate its importance for economic and social development. Second, it should advocate also for greater coherence in the many different models and forms of post-primary education by encouraging the development of public/private partnerships and a greater connection between formal and non-formal education. Finally, it should encourage the ministries of education to take a broader view of training and education that goes beyond their narrow departments.

What are the main activities of the Ad Hoc working group?

The WGPPE functions by assimilating all interested bilateral and multilateral cooperation agencies wishing to contribute to the debate on post-primary issues and act as catalyst and promoter among all stakeholders. It should be noted that one of the major outcomes of these activities is the development of an indicative framework. This framework should capture the most promising policy options and strategies that will be derived from the commissioned case studies. It is envisaged that policy-makers and practitioners in Africa will be presented with several options for the creation of a viable, integrated and expanded post-primary education sub-sector. 

The main activities include:

  • An inventory of promising practices in Africa;
  • Development of post-primary education models and a database;
  • Definition of skills and main competencies for Africa in the 21st century; and
  • Support to countries in the process of reforming their post-primary education.


First, it is necessary to collect information on post-primary education as essential data for analytical work which are frequently missing. It will also be necessary to undertake background studies to identify key policy issues in African countries and to learn more about their own experiences. The Ad hoc working group will identify both promising and ineffective practices in Africa, Asia and other regions in order to draw lessons from them. Finally, the working group will examine the capacity for internal cost-effective practices that will be needed if the ministries are to enlarge the scope of post-primary education.

Specific strategies are as follows:

  • Focusing on post-primary education (higher education to be dealt with in other contexts and settings);
  • Managing the expansion of post-primary education better than was the case for primary education;
  • Collecting knowledge on post-primary education, as essential data for analytical work are frequently missing;
  • Background studies to identify the key policy issues in African countries;
  • Carry out case studies in African countries (to learn about their own experience and to share them with other countries);
  • Identifying good practice in Africa as well as in other parts of the world (e.g. South Asia and Latin America) - not necessarily to copy them but as a reference to do things differently;
  • Share failures (bad practices) as well to avoid repeating (duplication) them elsewhere;
  • Overview of variety of private education and training providers in each country;
  • Learning from other world regions that went through similar processes;
  • Making internal savings in order to be able to cope with expansion;
  • Enter into dialogue with African governments - not only ministers of education- and other stakeholders;
  • Mobilizing the African network of ADEA throughout the process (e.g. by circulating draft terms of reference).


How to contact the Ad Hoc WG on Post-Primary Education

ADEA Secretariat
Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA)
African Development Bank (AfDB) 
Temporary Relocation Agency
13, avenue du Ghana
B.P. 323
1002 Tunis Belvedere
Tel:   +216 71 10 39 86
Fax : +216 71 10 26 69