Marrakech, 28th November 2014
The African Development Bank (AfDB), the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the African Union Commission (AUC) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) recently published their annual report on the progress towards achievement of the Millennium Goals (MDGs). This report makes unsubstantiated and shocking recommendations for increased private sector involvement in education as a solution to the education and development challenges faced by countries on the continent. These recommendations are made despite evidence showing the risks of private sector involvement in education for equity and quality, which may lead States to breach international standards.
The MDG Report 2014: Assessing Progress in Africa Toward the Millennium Development Goals is an important document not only because it reflects the positions of key organisations charged with finding solutions for realising economic and social development in Africa but also because will influence the debate on the post-2015 development framework. It is also significant as it may have influence over the debate for the next development framework, post 2015. The MDG Report 2014 rightly recognises the progress achieved by several African countries in expanding access to and completion of education. It also importantly highlights some of the major challenges that many education systems continue to face in Africa, including a shortage of funding, insufficient quality, and inequalities.
Regrettably, to meet these challenges the report argues for: “the promotion of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) combined with a greater involvement of the private sector”. On the role of the private sector, the report states: “Africa must build a vibrant private sector that supports the development of a dynamic primary education system and the acquisition of new skills and capacities by the labour force”. …