Africa showcases plans to improve education at UN Assembly

Former Tanzanian president and chief of the board of directors at Global Partnership for Education Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, Human Capital Africa Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili and Great Green Wall of Africa (GGWoA) Foundation CEO Ramatoulaye Diallo N'diaye attend a roundtabe discussion in USA during the UN General Assembly on September 21, 2023. PHOTO/HANDOUT 

What you need to know:

  • At the UN Assembly in New York, an expert warned that ignoring Africa’s education crisis would throw devastating ripple effects to nations with giant economies.

At the UN General Assembly leaders from African governments September 21 showcased commitment to better the continent’s education, in a resolve to address the bloc’s learning crisis marked by 9 out of 10 children unable to read and understand a sentence by age 10.

“Education is a key catalyst to resolve many of the challenges faced by our continent. Every child deserves quality education, and this can only be achieved if we all take responsibility and invest in foundational literacy and numeracy wherever we are,” said founder and Human Capital Africa (HCA) director Dr Obiageli Ezekwesili.

Speaking at the HCA roundtable during the Assembly in New York, Ezekwesili warned that ignoring Africa’s education crisis would throw devastating ripple effects to nations with giant economies.

“Setting the right foundations for learning during the early years, before the child ends grades 2 and 3, is fundamental. This is a challenge we can solve, and we can change the situation faster than we imagine if we are all coordinated. I am inspired by the leadership being demonstrated by African governments,” he added in his appeal for foundational learning to enhancing education.

Attendees of the roundtable discussion also included Uganda’s junior education minister Dr Joyce Moriku.

“Uganda has moved from pledging to a human capital investment scorecard to ensure data collection to inform policy decisions. More investments should be made and there is a need to learn from homegrown solutions to fix the learning crisis,” she told the gathering.

Considering the global perspective, without new measures, only one country in six will reach the global goal of universal access to secondary education by 2030, and 84 million children will not attend school, a report released in 2023 by the UN showed.

But Kaducu said: "Ultimately, Uganda aims to establish a system capable of understanding classroom needs, implementing structured pedagogical interventions, observing progress and adjusting interventions based on the system’s reaction, and maintaining regular accountability to the targets we set to improve Foundational Literacy and Numeracy outcomes.”

The HCA scorecard will be launched in many new countries and global sub regions over the coming months, ahead of the African Year of Education in 2024.

Additionally, the African Ministerial Coalition on Foundational Learning, convened by HCA and ADEA, will continue to share knowledge and showcase success to the rest of the world.