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Ghana to present position on transforming education at UN Summit

BY: Emmanuel Bonney
President Akufo-Addo
President Akufo-Addo

Ghana is to present its commitments on ‘Learning and skills for life, work and sustainable development’ at the United Nations Transforming Education Summit (TES) scheduled for this weekend in New York, USA.

The country’s two-page position will be presented by President Nana Addo-Dankwa Akufo-Addo at the world summit, which will take place from September 16 to 19, 2022.

The summit to bring together global, national and local education stakeholders and actors through whom it offers an opportunity for inclusive, networked and effective global dialogue on the types of coordinated actions needed to reverse the slide on progress towards SDG 4.

The Director-General of the Institute for Educational Planning and Administration, Dr Michael Boakye-Yiadom, who was appointed by the President as the National Convenor for the 2022 UN/UNESCO TES last Friday, briefed the media on the importance of the summit.

“The TES is a key initiative of Our Common Agenda, which was launched by the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, in 2021,” he explained.
Dr Boakye-Yiadom indicated that 154 countries were to make commitments on each of the five Thematic Action Tracks proposed by the UN to help nations redefine and reimagine education following losses in the sector due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The five are Inclusive, equitable, safe and healthy schools; Learning and skills for life, work and sustainable development; Teachers, teaching and the teaching profession; Digital learning and transformation and Financing of education.

Dr Boakye-Yiadom said although Ghana had chosen Thematic Action Track Two — Learning and skills for life, work and sustainable development — it would add the other four thematic action tracks to its commitment.

Ghana's role

He noted that to facilitate the task of developing a commitment from their countries, the Presidents of participating countries appointed national convenors to lead national multi-sectoral consultation meetings, select thematic action tracks and develop a commitment statement for the President to deliver during the summit.

He said it was based on that that he was appointed to execute the task.

Pre-Summit

The National Convenor and representatives from the Ministry of Education, led by a Deputy Minister for Education, John Ntim Fordjour, last June attended the TES pre-summit in Paris, France to express Ghana's commitment to the process of consulting with a wider audience and commit to one thematic track action.

“The Ministry of Education, the Ghana National Commission for UNESCO and the Office of the National Convenor organised four national consultations, in collaboration with development partners. These stakeholder consultations solicited inputs, contributions and concerns which led to the drafting of Ghana's commitment to the Thematic Action Track 2 - Learning and skills for life, work and sustainable development,” Dr Boakye-Yiadom said.

Participants

The consultations, he said, had students, members of youth groups, representatives from rural farming and fishing communities, the private sector, gender advocates, development partners, representatives of both tertiary and pre-tertiary schools, artisans, the unemployed, the media, prisoners enrolled in educational institutions, traders and representatives of governmental agencies and ministries as stakeholders.

“To transform the future of education, there must be emphasis on foundational learning for basic literacy and numeracy and education for sustainable development and skills for employment and entrepreneurship. Many children who drop out or graduate from the educational system report not having the right relevant skills they need to be successful in the labour market, navigate social challenges and contribute to national development efforts.

“In view of this, Ghana calls for urgent and decisive action, where learning levels are low, to ensure that all children, including the most marginalised, develop foundational learning to realise their full potential,” he said.