The Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqayyatu Rufa'i, says Africa will not compromise quality in its quest toward achieving the Education For All (EFA) target in the continent.
Rufa'i, who addressed a news conference in Abuja on Friday at the end of the 5th Conference of Ministers of Education of the African Union (COMEDAF V), said this, among other issues, was the resolution of the conference.
She said the conference concluded that stakeholders should go back to their various countries and work out an actionable plan that would enhance access to education without compromising quality.
The minister said that after reviewing the progress made so far in the implementation of the education Plan Of Action (POA), delegates came to the conclusion that 50 per cent of African countries might not meet the EFA Goal before the 2015 timeline.
Rufa'i said this would, however, not deter the African education ministers from ensuring that quality and access were pursued in the quest to ensure successful implementation of the education POA.
``A number of significant gains have been achieved in the priority areas, which can inform actions in the remaining areas, but a lot still needs to be done.
``There are key challenges facing the implementation of the POA such as the creation of coordinated network of regional players who will ensure that there is uptake of the full spectrum of activities of the POA.''
Other challenges, she noted, included ineffective communication strategy for information flow on progress at regional and continental level for synergy and accountability.
She said the continent had similar challenges affecting the achievement of the set targets and urged for collaboration between countries to overcome them.
Rufa'i announced that there would be a presentation on the progress and implementation of the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) to address the issue of out-of-school youth and unemployment.
Other highlights, she added, were the progress and implementation of the Pan African University, the progress in the implementation of the Nyerere Scholarship and Academic Mobility Scheme, as well as the African Education Outlook.
She said that after due consultation, the education ministers' conference elected Nigeria as Chair to its bureau, while Cameroon was elected as 1st Vice Chair, Angola as 2nd Vice Chair, Algeria 3rd Vice Chair and Kenya was elected as Rapporteur.
``Nigeria has now officially taken up the chairmanship of COMEDAF V for the next two years until COMEDAF VI to be held in Cameroon.’’
The minister reiterated Nigeria’s commitment to the pursuit of educational goals of Africa, saying the country as Chair of the Bureau, would ensure leadership by example.
The conference had in attendance ministers from the Republics of Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Congo, Cameroon, Central Africa, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt and Ethiopia.
Some others were Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Sahrawi Arab Republic and Senegal.
Many partner agencies such as UN bodies, Civil Society Organisations and specialised educational institutions were also in attendance.