|H.E. Abdou Salam Diallo|
Ambassador and Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Senegal to the UN
Ambassador Abdou Salam Diallo served as Ambassador and Diplomatic Counselor to the Prime Minister, a position he had held since 2002. From 1998 to 2001, he was the Deputy Director of the International Organizations in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with prior experience as Counselor in the Permanent Mission of Senegal in Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia, from 1992 to 1998, and as Chief of the United Nations Division in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, from 1990 to 1992. He has represented Senegal at various international forums, including the United Nations General Assembly, from 1999 to 2009. He was a member of the Senegalese delegation to several sessions of the Human Rights Commission and the 2002 session of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
|Africa Solutions to African Problems: Education, Health, Culture, Economy, Culture, Peace & Security||06/ 18/ 2014|
Excellences, Distinguished Colleagues,
Mr. Director, Ladies and Gentlemen, Distinguished Guests,
Allow me at the outset, to extend my sincere thanks to Mr. Mehmet Kilic, Director of the Center for Global Affairs of the Peace Islands Institute, who was kind enough to invite me alongside my colleagues present here, to address this august audience, in the framework of the series of panels dedicated to Africa.
1- The theme I have chosen to maintain focus on is education in Africa (with an emphasis on Senegal), in the current context of the definition of the Post- 2015 development agenda. The importance of this sector in the development process of the countries from the South is no longer to be demonstrated. The document “The Future We Want”, adopted 2 years ago during the Rio+20 Summit, highlights the need to strengthen international cooperation in order to ensure universal Access to primary education, especially in developing countries renewed their commitment to promote education for sustainable development and to promote education for sustainable development in the curriculum beyond the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014).
2- With regard to Africa, UN statistic show that only 61% of people over the age of 15 are literate while global average is around 82% more than 50% of the 121 million children out of school worldwide are African; and children tend to leave school sooner in Africa than anywhere else.
Such data demonstrate the magnitude of the challenges that Africa continues to face in the field of education and justify the initiatives in education undertaken by the African Union, reflecting the unwavering will of African countries to make education an essential tool for development. Among these measures, I would like to single out the first Decade of Education for Africa (1997-2006), which focused on priority areas such as equity, Access to basic education, quality and capacity building.
The shortcomings in the implementation of this program have been taken into account in the framework of the Second Decade of Education for Africa (2006-2015).
3- In the same vein, Senegal hosted in 2000 the “World Forum on Education for All” which adopted the “Dakar Framework for Action on Education for All”, recommending countries, among others, to develop a National Action Plan that aims at developing and improving, in all their aspects, the protection and education and education of young children, and raising by 50% the level of adult literacy including women but also eradicating gender disparities in primary and secondary education.
In order to reach these results, Senegal undertook, in 1998, a comprehensive diagnosis of its education system, upon the completion of which, the Government implemented a major reform in the sector with the adoption in 2000 of the General Policy Letter for the education sector, covering the period 1999-2008, with the Ten-Year Education and Training Program (PDEF) as operational framework.
4- Regarding the African perspectives, it should be stressed that despite the efforts made, the EFA goals and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on education will not be fully achieved by 2015.
I wish now to say a couple of words on higher education;
Higher education is arguably the best measuring tool of African progress on the field of Education, while providing an excellent indicator of its related issues.
In 1960, very few African Countries had quality Universities. The colonial rationale, from which they had just extracted, wanted their Educational system to only train low skilled labor, to fulfill the executing positions within the administrations.
Very few Africans had the opportunity to enjoy higher learning.
It is therefore understandable that the first African leaders put great emphasis on creating Universities Centers.This is why the number of enrolled students went from 200.000 in 1970 to 4.15 million in 2010, meaning 22 times more in less than 40 years.In comparison, the net rate of schooling increased by 8.6% per years in Africa while it only did by 4.6% at the global level. In some countries, the increase in enrollment has reached 2000% in 50 years, rosters exploding everywhere. However, this democratization of the access to higher learning hides great paradoxes. Indeed, only 6% of the population reaches the level of university in Africa against 25% globally. Furthermore, only 4.8% of African Women have access to higher learning 7.3% of men do. Infrastructures did not meet the pace of this high increase of students, the number of Professors and their qualifications are problematic, and the different crises that the African Continent has faced had their toll on the finance of the universities, which are struggling to cover their operating budget (Overhead and management cost) at the expense of Research, the weakest link of African Universities. This could explain why the first African University to appear in the Shanghai Top 500 Universities, the University of Cape Town, is ranked 258th. We need however to balance such a diagnostic, as some of the specialized institutions (especially in Engineering and Management) train high skilled workers whose competence is equal to the ones in other continents.Additionally, thousands of Lecturers and hundreds of thousands of Students from Africa work or study in the best universities around the World, and their qualifications have never been questioned.
It seems necessary to me that policies targeted at improving the quality of education must have the objective of adequately training teachers, in sufficient numbers, with appropriate infrastructure and equipment, as well as required school supplies and good recruitment policy.
In most African countries, financial resources are lacking, which often affects the education sector, even with the efforts of States to grant a significant share of their budgets to it.
In this situation, development partners should not only meet their commitments but also increase financial assistance in order to facilitate the achievement, by African countries of the fixed objectives in terms of education.
In conclusion, I would like to express my strong conviction that, given the evolution of the education sector in Africa, it is clear that African governments have realized that the development of our continent cannot ignore the need to improve performance related to the 2nd target of the MDGs. It is therefore essential, taking into account the foregoing, that greater emphasis be put on mainstreaming this issue n the post-2015 agenda.