There are 30 million African children not in school.
The African Union Commission, AUC, has said that more than 30 million African children of school age are not in school, even with the increase in enrolment from 60 per cent to 75 per cent in the last five years.
Nigeria has the most number of children out of school in Africa with about 10 million children out of school.
The AUC Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology, Martial Ikounga, made this known on Wednesday at the opening of the first ordinary session of the Conference of Ministers of Education of the AU (COMEDAFV) in Addis Ababa.
Mr. Ikounga said 40 per cent of students complete Secondary School education, noting that the school drop-out rate had reduced to 45 per cent just as he called for more commitment and increase in resources to meet the two million annual demand for teachers in Africa.
The Commissioner charged Ministers of Education of the AU member states to put in more effort and ensure the training of at least 500,000 quality teachers annually to meet the current demand and needs of schools to be able to meet up with Global development challenges.
He said 75 per cent of the continent’s teachers were well trained, but stressed the need to re-focus the teacher training and the school curricular to meet the current global technological trend to fast track growth and advancement
“We need to review the curricula and teaching methods to build a better future for the African workforce.
“We cannot achieve that unless we put in more effort in infrastructure development, teacher training and improved enumeration as well as mobility for the teachers,” he said.
Earlier, Nigeria’s Minister of Education, Ruqayyatu Rufa’i in her address at the conference said as 2015 MDGs targets drew nearer, “teacher education, development, motivation and conditions of service have remained major challenges to quality teaching and learning for the achievement of educational goal at all levels in the continent.”
The minister, who is also the chairperson of the COMEDAFV Bureau, said a lot of effort had been and “is still being made, but it is obvious that much still needs to be done if we must meet our targets.”
“Consequently as leaders, coordinators and partners, we must appreciate the urgency and magnitude of what needs to be done. We should exhibit the necessary political will and courage and take bold steps in building adequate and motivated teaching workforce.’’
Represented by the Permanent Secretary, McJohn Nwaobiala, the minister said that Nigeria had registered and licenced over one million teachers through the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN) and had also developed a code of conduct and professional standards through the establishment of teachers investigating panel across the country.
The minister said the ministry had also evolved modules for engaging teacher employers and other stakeholders to rid the profession of quacks and improve the status, image and performance of the teachers.
Ms. Rufa’i said the ministry had developed an African Teacher Mobility and Development Protocol, through the TRCN, which has wider scope and would add value to the Pan-African Conference on Teacher Development, PACTED.
“Recognising that we still have numerous constraints in the sector, such as funding, and education in emergency situations, we should bear in mind that we have the onerous task of passing on to the up-coming generation of Africans, our vision, core values and principles.
“It is therefore, important that we leave good footprint in the sands of time,” she said.
The ministers are expected to adopt the report of PACTED II meeting held in Abuja in 2012 as well as the supplementary budget for PAN-African University.
The COMEDAFV meeting was preceded by the Pan-African Conference on Teacher Development (PACTED III) which was attended by AU member states, Education officials, experts as well as International development agencies including UNICEF, UNESCO, African Development Bank (AfDB) and other education sector regulatory agencies.
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