Ghana is among three countries mentioned in the Education for All (EFA) Global Monitoring Report as champions in pre-primary education worldwide.

The other two in the UNESCO initiated 500-page report that maps the state of education worldwide and current challengers are Mongolia and China.

At the international launch of the report at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, today (April 9, 2015), Mr. Manos Antoninis, Senior Policy Analyst, EFA Global Monitoring Report praised Ghana again together with Kenya and Mexico for significantly increasing access to education and improving learning.

Since world leaders agreed to achieve the EFA goals 15 years ago, he said 34 million children have gained access to schools, while on the average gender parity has also been achieved essentially.

Using detailed graphs to make his presentation Mr. Antoninis, explained that 84 million children were out of school, even though there was a two-thirds achievement in school enrolment during the period under review.

Ghana’s Minister of Education, Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyeman, contributing to a panel discussion on what accounted for Ghana’s achievements said it was due to the Ghana government’s decision to prioritize education.

This, she said reflected in the allocation of 34 per cent of the national budget to the sector, apart from accounting for more than six percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the training of teachers, payment of salaries, tuition, scholarships, among others.

Prof. Opoku-Agyeman said the making of post-secondary education free, had contributed significantly since the government absorbs a lot of the cost in the form of Capitation Grant, free school uniforms, free feeding, free text books with plans to add free sandals.

The contribution of various communities, especially the District Education Oversight Committees had all helped a lot in moving education in Ghana thus far.

The Minister, who catalogued strategic and other measures undertaken to push education higher, said the pragmatic steps had reduced teacher absenteeism from 20 per cent to 10, resulting in the retraining of teachers in Science and Mathematics. Added to these, have been the active support of parents and communities for the government’s efforts.

“More important on our desk is what they (school children) are going to become in future with their education”, she emphasized drawing a lot of applause from the gathering.

Another panelist, the Nepal Minister of Education, Ms. Chitralekha Yadav said her country had achieved more success in adult education. In addition, they combined technical and practical teaching skills in their learning approach.

The third panelist, the Mongolian Ambassador to the United Nations, Mr. Od Och, mentioned that Mongolia had given top priority to the education of boys, as part of a master plan introduced in 2006 to improve people’s livelihood and extend economic development.

On how to solve current financial challenges for educational goals, Prof. Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the UN Sustainable Development, called for a more vigorous and sustained campaigns for the more than 1,826 billionaires in the world, currently holding over $7.1 trillion dollars to contribute a percentage to a Global Fund for Education.

In addition, he charged all countries to appeal to financial and business concerns like Samsung, Globalcom, to support them in Making Education for All a reality.

On her part, Ms. Geeta Rao Gupta, Deputy Director, UNICEF said at the moment a lot of poor children were out of school and therefore supported more ambitious ways to get the rich companies and individuals to donate to the Global Fund for Education to ensure education for all.

Ms. Alice Albright, Chief Executive Officer, Global Partnership for Education, lauded all governments that had achieved benchmarks for spending more than 26 per cent of their budget on education.

The Moderator, Ms. Christina Gallach, Under Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, praised various countries for working hard to improve education in the world.

Earlier, Mrs. Moufida Goucha, Director of UNESCO, New York Office, explained that the report has been a flagship document for childhood care and education, lifeskills programme and quality education for all.

Global leaders agreed in Dakar, Senegal in 2000 on six EFA goals and promised to achieve them by 2015. The launching of this report is a prelude to the 2015 World Education Forum in Incheon, Korea from May 19 to 22, where world leaders will identify priorities for international education until 2030. Proposals made there will be taken up at the UN Summit, which is set to agree on new sustainable development goals on September 2, 2015.

Picture 1806: Prof. Opoku Agyeman making her contribution at the launch. 1808 Prof Opoku-Agyeman being hugged by the Moderator, Ms cristina Gallach, UN Under Secretary General for Communications and Public Information. 1814 Prof. Opoku-Agyeman and her Chief Director, with her Nepalese counterpart.Ms. Chitralekha Yadav 1817 Prof. Opoku-Agyeman and her Chief Director, with some officials of the Ghana Mission atthe launch

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