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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Education for All great for EAC

Education for All great for EAC
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Education for All great for EAC

Recently, President Paul Kagame exuded confidence that Africa can achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015. He made these remarks with the vast continent’s gigantic potential to attain this on his mind.

A 2010 report by Margaret Namirembe presented to the East African Community (EAC) identified some indicators to show that there was good progress on the realization of MDG2 that aims at attaining universal primary education by 2015.

As a test of the quality of education in the EAC states, the report established that the partner states were converging toward the recommended teacher student ratio of 1:45. A lower teacher student ratio means that effectiveness in teacher delivery is high; thus enhancing the quality of education given.

The completion rate of primary education was also reported to have been constantly improving in Rwanda and Kenya though it was on a downward trend in Tanzania.

An impressive record of literacy rates was also reported. Generally, the literacy rate in EAC partner states was recorded at 70 percent with Kenya alone standing at over 90 percent .Gender parity had only been attained in Rwanda. The literacy rate in Rwanda stood at 77.1 percent in total with the rate of men and women standing at 71.1 percent.

While we celebrate good progress, it is important to note that the EAC states have a number of milestones to overcome before the MDGs opulence is realized.

East Africa and Africa at large, arguably described as a swamp of corruption may live to just dream about universal primary education if consistent and conscious efforts are not made to uproot the monstrous and destructive hatchery of corruption.

Money directed to education programmes is often embezzled by education officials. Recently, the Kenyan education minister was on pressure to resign following the disappearance of billions of shillings meant for free primary and secondary education. Petitions to have him step aside hit a dead wood as the defiant minister clung to his office.

Cases of school dropouts are yet to be contained. Children at the school going age can still be spotted working as house helps for very meager or no pay because extreme poverty is yet to be managed.

According to UNICEF, recent statistics show that for every 100 boys out of school, there are still 117 girls in the same situation.

Until an equal number of girls and boys are in school, it will be impossible to build knowledge necessary to eradicate poverty and hunger, combat disease and ensure environmental sustainability.

On the other hand, where many strides have been made, gender parity has no been attained. So far, Rwanda boasts of the best gender parity rate among the EAC partner states.

As the EAC states continue to better education accessibility and standards, harmonization of the education systems, establishing a reformed common examination body and harmonize the East Africa certificate and accreditation of education and training institutions.

Updated on Aug 5, 2011 by Victor Mugarura (Version 1)

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