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General News Mon, 1 Sep 2008

Eight billion dollars needed annually to improve education - UNESCO

Accra, Sept. 1, GNA - More than eight billion dollars of aid is needed yearly to supplement Africa's spending on education to improve quality and enhance access, Mr Nicholas Burnett, Assistant Director-General for Education, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), said on Monday. Currently, about 1.5 billion dollars of aid goes into education in Africa.

Briefing the press ahead of the Accra High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness which begins in Accra on Tuesday, Mr Burnett said the huge aid gap did not augur well for progress in the education sector. The forum brings together Presidents and Ministers from over 100 countries and heads of multilateral and bilateral development agencies, donors and global civil society organizations from more than 100 countries.

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The consultations will take stock of progress made in implementing the Paris Declaration commitments, identify bottlenecks and challenges, and determine actions donors and partner countries need to take to make aid more effective. Mr Burnett said although significant progress had been made on the continent in education enrolment, it had not been matched by improvement in quality. It is estimated that 10 per cent of children worldwide are out of school and Africa alone accounts for half the number. Besides, the pupil-teacher ratio has gone worse. About four million teachers need to be trained between now and 2015 to ensure the average of 40 students per teacher. He said UNESCO's main concern on aid effectiveness was how to increase the level of donor inflows and the use of such resources effectively to facilitate the provision of quality education. Mr Burnett later visited some UNESCO sponsored projects at the Ghana International Press Centre and the Labadi Cluster of Schools. 1 Sept. 08

Source: GNA
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