ADEA – Devt Tool for African Education Ministers – Ndoye
This Day (Lagos)
21 August 2007
Posted to the web 22 August 2007
By Bukola Olatunji
The Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) is a development tool for Education Ministers, the Executive Secretary, Mr. Mamadou Ndoye has said.
Ndoye, who has been Executive Secretary of the Association since 2001 told THISDAY in a recent interview that the most challenging aspect of his work was getting African Education Ministers to take ownership of ADEA.
“Many African Ministers saw ADEA as an external body and not as their tool. My challenge was to try to change this attitude (and make them understand) that they can use ADEA as a tool for the development of education in Africa. It was a real challenge because Ministers change a lot, so if you succeed in changing the attitude of one group, soon they change and you have a new group. It was really difficult.”
But this is gradually changing, he said. “I think from our bureau, there are many initiatives showing that they (Ministers) are trying to lead ADEA. It is very important for African Ministers to lead, to orientate, to guide the activities of ADEA according to their needs.”
On what ADEA can do for a country and its Education Minister, Ndoye said “You have to make what you want clear. We are not in a position to answer every question, but we try to contribute to the vision of Ministers, to their thinking about how to develop education according to the lessons learned from other African countries. We advise them on the best practices and policies in Africa. What are the best policies which have attained their goals, which have results and what are the innovative approaches that have succeeded? What works and what does not work not work in Africa? For these we have wide experience, we have documents, we have experts and we can advise ministers.”
ADEA, the website stated, was first established in 1988 under the name, ‘Donors to African Education (DAE)’. Its initial mandate was derived from the recommendations of the World Bank 1988 study, entitled ‘Education in Sub-Saharan Africa: Policies for Adjustment, Revitalization and Expansion’. The goal of DAE was to continue the policy dialogue initiated by that study and to act as a framework for improved coordination between development agencies. DAE was then managed by the Africa Region, Human Development Department of the World Bank.
The association grew rapidly to include the participation of most multilateral, bilateral and private development organisations. However, soon after its creation it became evident that without the active involvement of African Ministers of Education, the effectiveness of this collaboration would be limited. Consequently, in 1992 five African ministers of education were asked to join the Steering Committee.
During the same year, a small independent secretariat was established in Paris and housed at the International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP) of UNESCO. The purpose of this move was to foster a broad sense of ownership among all members-African ministers and funding agencies alike.
From Washington to Paris in 1992, the Association’s headquarters may be on the move again, this time, to Africa. At the recent ‘International Conference on School Fee Abolition: Planning for Quality and Sustainable Financing’, held in Bamako, Mali; Ndoye, 62, who was described as , “a militant in the daily fight for the cause of African education”, was commended for agreeing to postpone his retirement in order to launch the new ADEA strategic plan and the process of transferring the Association’s headquarters from IIEP/Paris to the African Development Bank (AfDB)’s headquarters in Abidjan.
To show that this will happen sooner than later, the Conference of African Ministers of Education, COMEDAF III, that was held last week in Johannesburg, focused on the implementation of the Plan of Action for the Second Decade of Education in Africa and adopted key recommendations to ensure the success of the Decade, including the creation of a Trust Fund for Education, Science and Technology that will be hosted at the AfDB.
It recommended, among others, the acceleration of the partnership between the African Union and ADEA: finalisation of the signing of the Protocol Agreement between the African Union (AU) and ADEA; invitation of the Ministers of Northern Africa to join ADEA and to participate actively in its activities; as well as the exploration and implementation of modalities for merging the ADEA and COMEDAF Bureaus of Ministers.
Back to its history, the association’s official title changed from DAE to ‘Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA)’ in 1995, in order to better reflect the partnership between ministers and development agencies. It is governed by a Steering Committee of 10 African Ministers of Education and representatives of most multilateral, bilateral and private development organisations that work in the education sector in Africa. The Steering Committee is both ADEA’s governing body and ADEA’s primary instance for coordination among funding agencies, among African ministries of education, and between these two components.
The 10 Ministers of Education constitute the ADEA Bureau of Ministers and are chosen by the Caucus of Ministers which consists of all the ministers of education of sub-Saharan Africa. They are selected by region (Western Africa, Eastern Africa, Central Africa, Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean) and serve on the bureau for a four-year period. Bureau members are selected on the basis of alphabetical rotation by country. Both the Bureau of Ministers-which meets twice a year-and the Caucus of Ministers-which meets during ADEA’s Biennial Meetings- are frameworks for dialogue and consultation on the challenges and opportunities for the development of education in Africa.
The Association uses a variety of mechanisms to reach various audiences. For instance, the Biennial Meetings target decision-makers who are instrumental in the formation and implementation of policy and to guide ADEA’s programme of activities. Furthermore, through working group activities and publications ADEA is able to reach practitioners and other stakeholders working at the school and community level.
ADEA is funded through two principal mechanisms. One primary source of funding comes through the membership fees that development partners are required to pay in order to be a member of the Steering Committee. Another funding source comes through grants provided by development agencies which are either earmarked for specific working groups or activities or go into the general budget. The resources are then used to finance policy dialogue, regional and sub-regional cooperation, working groups and ad hoc groups, knowledge management or publications and communication activities as well as the Secretariat’s operating costs. ADEA facilitates regional and sub-regional cooperation and dialogue. In response to needs expressed by the Bureau of African Ministers, it organizes technical or sub-regional ministerial meetings on topics of common interest in order to foster greater cooperation between countries. The following themes were explored in 2003, 2004 and 2005: education and HIV/Aids; ICTs in education systems; education in conflict and post-conflict situations; secondary education; contractual teachers; bilingual and mother tongue instruction; and, education for rural people. ADEA also fosters partnerships with regional institutions and networks with a view to enhancing African capacities and supports the sharing of experiences between countries through its Intra-African Exchange programme.
Meanwhile, African Education Journalists still have until November 1, 2007 to submit their entries for the 2008 edition of the Akintola Fatoyinbo Africa Education Journalism Award, organised by ADEA and its Working Group on Communication for Education and Development (COMED). Six articles per year (two in English, two in French and two in Portuguese) will be awarded. Winners of the Award will receive a cash prize of 3,000 euros (for winners of the first place in each language category) or 2,000 euros (for second place winners). They will also be invited to participate in a study tour that will aim at enhancing their professional development in education journalism. Applicants must be African journalists. Articles must be written in English, French or Portuguese and published in an African newspaper or magazine.