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Business News Tue, 1 Oct 2019

Digitisation of education crucial for Africa’s development – Finance Minister

Ken Ofori-Atta, Minister for Finance has said that as much as there was the need to accelerate innovative financing to assist developing countries achieve SDG on education, it was very crucial that the current pedagogy in some developing countries should be overhauled to equip the youth in those countries to properly engage the world in the near future.

“For Africa, digitisation and harnessing of technological innovation in education is crucial for us to leapfrog and engage with the rest of the world”, he said.

Ken Ofori Atta, speaking in his capacity as the Chair of IMF/World Bank Development Committee said these when he addressed leaders of multilateral development partners and private finance institutions at the meeting of the Global Education Forum on the side lines of the 2019 UN General Assembly.

The meeting was under the auspices of UNICEF and was co-chaired by the former Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore, Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Gordon Brown, former British Prime Minister and UN Special Envoy for Global Education and UNESCO Director General, Mrs Audrey Azoulay. The meeting aimed at establishing a new financing mechanism to leverage collaboration across global systems in the interest of low to middle income countries that are struggling with financing for education.

Currently, annual spending on education worldwide is estimated at US$4.7 trillion, out of which about US$3 trillion (65% of the total) is spent in high-income countries and US$22 billion (0.5% of the total) in low-income countries, though the two groups have roughly equal school-age populations.

Mr Ofori Atta therefore, stressed the need for equitable distribution of the available resources worldwide to ensure that a quarter of the worlds’ population achieve inclusiveness.

The Finance Minister citing the example of free SHS in Ghana as a policy government introduced to among other things achieve inclusiveness, said currently government spends 6% of GDP on education, and Ghana, like all developing countries needed innovative finance to sustain the free education.

The former Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore while supporting the call for innovative financing also stressed that Singapore had achieved a lot in education not because of financing but the country focused on the design of the education programmes which are result oriented.

Essentially the forum, in addition to calling for innovative financing also called for a focus on supporting and working with individual countries, regions and sub regions to achieve the SDG 4; they recognised the urgency to provide this assistance now; they also pledged to develop clear messaging on the urgency of the problem; as well as strengthening coordination of all forms of international support and collaboration between the public and private sectors to deliver education development outcomes.

The Global Education Forum (GEF) was developed following an agreement to establish the forum at a meeting of heads of multilateral agencies in July 2019. It was convened by UNESCO as the lead agency for the global coordination of Sustainable Development Goal 4 in consultation with key members of the Education Forum. It is a multi-stakeholder partnership and funding platform that aims to strengthen education systems in achieving the SDGs.

The Forum addresses the global priority of education and aims to strengthen the ties between the public and private sector in the field of education, and also increase the involvement of the private sector in education. The Forum is the result of a strategic partnership between UNESCO and the Varkey Foundation, and is organized with the support of other partners including the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (UAE Government).

The Forum also brings together Heads of Governments, ministers, educators, NGO leaders, youth groups, board chairs and chief executives of businesses and multi-lateral agencies and industry leaders to learn about innovative approaches, share stories of success, and learn how to scale solutions in practice.

Source: laudbusiness.com