Ghana: Education unions and civil society stand together to demand full funding of public education

published 22 October 2019 updated 23 October 2019

Education International, ActionAid International, Africa Network Campaign on Education for All and the Global Campaign for Education are calling for African governments to invest in quality public education and teachers.

This call was made in Cape Coast, Ghana, during an Education International (EI)/ActionAid workshop on financing education and teachers. The workshop analysed the main obstacles to financing education and teachers in African countries and other developing countries, and came up with concrete recommendations for addressing these challenges.

SDG 4: Sub-Saharan African countries are seriously off-track

Based on evidence from EI’s report, “ Off Track: Educators Assess Progress Towards (Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4”, the  country reports presented at the meeting and other sources, it is clear that SDG 4 will not be achieved by the 2030 deadline, as promised by the United Nations and its member states. Sub-Saharan African countries are seriously off-track, mainly due to inadequate funding and teacher-related challenges.

“In sub-Saharan Africa, only 64 % of primary and 50 % of secondary teachers have the required minimum level of training and qualifications,” underlined EI’s Dennis Sinyolo. He went on to highlight some of the challenges facing African education systems, including the privatisation and commercialisation of education and inadequate investment in initial teacher education, continuous professional development, decent salaries and working conditions for teachers and all educators.

Beware of the donors’ terminology

Sinyolo challenged those international financial institutions and donors that are trying to shift the global discourse from “free” to “affordable” education; from “quality education” to “learning outcomes”; from “development aid” to “results-based financing”. He noted the emergence of caps being imposed on the budgets of developing countries by the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and some donors in the name of efficiency.

He also clearly warned: “When you hear the donors use the word ‘efficiency’, be very afraid -  they mean increase class size, increase teacher workload and freeze their salaries.”

Review of the Parktonian Recommendations

The workshop also reviewed the Parktonian Recommendations, a partnership between EI and ActionAid International agreed in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2006. In the renewed partnership,  EI and ActionAid committed to work together to strengthen public education by focusing on the following five key area:

  • Education financing;
  • Privatisation and commercialisation of education;
  • The teaching profession;
  • Gender and inclusion and
  • Climate change.