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Whither Secondary Education in Africa? Steven Obeegadoo.

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Presentation on theme: "Whither Secondary Education in Africa? Steven Obeegadoo."— Presentation transcript:

1 Whither Secondary Education in Africa? Steven Obeegadoo

2 An Overview Why the interest in Secondary Education? From UPE to UBE The State of Play & Challenges Ahead Policy Directions The Funding Dilemma Pointers for the future Multiplying Synergies

3 Why the surge of interest in Secondary Education?  An educated and skilled people: The prerequisite for entry into the Age of Knowledge  Education as a Right and pathway to a better life: Expectations run high!  Universal Primary Education is working: What next if not Secondary Education?  Lessons of Experience and Research Findings: Added Value of Secondary Education

4 Impact on Human Development Making literacy permanent Improving individual health behaviour Lowering fertility rates Improving school attendance Source: Pole de Dakar, 2005

5 Impact of Secondary Education: The Job Market Integration into the Labour Market is better for lower secondary than for upper secondary education. Economic Returns Where resources are scarce, public funding of the higher levels of the educational system cannot be priority. Access to these levels may call for flow regulation

6 UPE to UBE: What is at stake? Increasing awareness of the need to move beyond Universal Primary Education (5-6 yrs) to provide to the African youth Universal Basic Education (8-9 yrs) by expanding and diversifying Secondary Education. Distinguish: Lower Secondary (final phase of basic education): A core curriculum for all. Upper Secondary: Diversified pathways including Vocational Progress towards UPE and underlying socio-economic transformations imply Lower Secondary Education can no longer be denied to the masses: The transition from old fashioned narrow elitist to inclusive mass basic education has started and cannot be stopped. Traditional elitist system was premised on exclusion of the many and selection of privileged few for higher studies and university. The implications for Lower Secondary Education in Africa are profound and far reaching: Providing educational opportunities for all requires revisiting the objectives, structure, procedures and management of the system.

7 c From Elitism to Mass Basic Education Providing Lower Secondary Education to all: not a technical but political issue. Opting out of elitism cannot but be controversial: There will be winners and losers Need for careful political management of reforms: Consensus building, effective communication and advocacy. Success depends first and foremost on political will and commitment sustained over time.


9 The State of Play: Numbers Up… UPE is working! GER NER  Primary enrolments 1998: 80% 56% (up by nearly 20m) 2002: 91% 64%  Secondary Enrolment Ratio between 1998 and 2003 consequently gained 13 points for Lower Secondary and 7 points for Upper Secondary …But Quality Down  High Unit Costs : inefficient resource allocation  Pupil/Teacher ratios 22:1(1990) 29:1(2004)  Poorly prepared secondary graduates

10 Change in Secondary Gross Enrolment Ratios between 1998 and 2002 (Source: UNESCO, 2006)

11 From UPE to UBE Progress towards UPE High Primary Completion Rates Extension of Secondary Coverage and Shift in Lower Secondary Student Profile Drop in Lower Secondary Retention Rate and Drop in Lower to Upper Secondary Transition Rates Rise in number of school leavers/drop-outs at Lower Secondary level

12 The Challenges Ahead A demographic time bomb? Population is set to double in 30 years! Aged 12 -18:143m(2005) 169m(2015) 184m(2020) IIf secondary enrolment growth rates to be maintained, enrolments must double by 2015! IIf primary to secondary transition rates to be kept constant, enrolments must triple by 2015 ! ~~~~~~~~~~~ The economy must grow and national wealth increase to fund the expansion of secondary education. Uneven economic development limits Job market absorptive capacity for secondary graduates: After stagnating in the 1980s and 1990s,GDP growth has averaged more than 3% p.a since 1998

13 Policy Directions: Access and Equity For 100 students in Lower Secondary, only 13 from the poorest! For 100 boys in Lower Secondary, only 80 girls! Extend coverage by targeting the excluded: -Locate schools in the rural areas -Abolish fees or offer scholarships -Address indirect financial obstacles -Address cultural obstacles to female enrolment


15 Policy Directions: Quality and Quantity Expansion cannot mean only quantity but also quality: More of the same will not do! Hence, to expand secondary Education is to reform Secondary Education… The objective of providing Lower Secondary Education to all is to equip all African youth with the skills and knowledge for the World of Work and for lifelong learning. To fulfill such an objective, African secondary schools must be effective schools……for all! No Trade-offs as between Quantity and Quality

16 Policy Directions: Curriculum and VET Objective: Education of the larger number for – The World of Work and Lifelong Learning Individual Development and Citizenship New Lower Secondary Curriculum: Core curriculum (Languages, Maths, ICT and Science) founded on generic skills and key competencies: Literacy and Numeracy Communication skills Team Work skills Problem-solving skills Reasoning and Critical Skills Learnability and Autonomy Vocational Education and Training (VET) to be offered as flexible programmes after lower Secondary.

17 Policy Directions: Assessment and Certification Eschew traditional selective approach (Pass or Fail Examinations) in favour of recognition and certification of positive achievement throughout schooling. Shift from content-based to competencies-based assessment Deliver a Record of Achievement/ Statement of Competencies at the end of Basic Education. Develop a functional National Qualifications Framework to ensure portability of qualifications.

18 Policy Directions: Teacher Training UPE by 2015 requires 3m new teachers. Teacher training requires secondary educational opportunities. Effective teachers require:-  Subject knowledge  Pedagogical competencies  Motivation How to ensure cost effectiveness in Teacher training? Pedagogical training to reflect requirements of basic education for all.

19 Policy Directions: Managing Secondary Education Empower schools but train effective and accountable school leaders: “Management at service delivery level by providers” Role of Central Authority:  Policy Making and Planning  Quality Assurance  General Supervision  Support Services

20 The Funding Dilemma: Policy Options  Expanding Secondary Education is expensive: Unit costs LGSE 3 times more than Primary. Unit costs UGSE 6 times more than Primary. Unit costs TVET 12 times more than Primary  If Secondary Enrolments rise, unless Unit costs decrease, public spending will also have increase.

21 Should Transition Rates be regulated? Primary to Lower Secondary: Drop-outs represent self-regulation Regulation as policy only if UPE distant. Lower Secondary to Upper Secondary: Job market constraints and low social returns may justify policy management of student flows.


23 Can governments spend more??? Additional Funding Increase in Education Budget Tapping Other Local Sources User FeesCommunityPrivatePPP’s Foreign Assistance

24 Spending not more but better!!! Re-allocate funds within Education Budget Target efficiency gains in spending: Policy Options Integrate LSE into PE Less subject options Shift system/all yr round Reduce repetition rates Manage schools better Monitoring/Accountability Larger class sizes Gainful use of assets Contractual Teachers Target benefits/subsidies Improve procurement DEOL

25 Pointers for the future Distinguish Lower Secondary (Core curriculum for all) from Upper Secondary (Diversified pathways) Facilitate access for all to 9-year basic education inclusive of Lower Secondary to promote:  Individual Development  Citizenship  Employability and entrepreneurship  Learnability Expansion and diversification of Secondary education is unique to each country e.g Choice of integrating Lower Secondary into Primary or developing General Lower Secondary as progressive Post Primary for all.

26 Pointers for the future Expansion of Secondary Education must be better managed than UPE was, but African knowledge base for policy development is weak: Develop evidence-based indicative action frameworks Propose affordable and effective models of Post Primary education for Africa. Facilitate policy dialogue

27 Context and Education Policy for Lower Secondary Education: Countries with less than 1200 US $ per capita Best performers countries (JSE completion rate >= 30%) Other countries (JSE completion rate < 30%) AverageRangeAverageRange Context Primary completion rate 66%59%-73%48%27%-73% State Revenues as % of GDP 21%15%-27%19%8%-40% Mobilisation of resources Current expenditure on education as % of State revenues 20%10%-30%19%7%-31% Current expenditure on secondary education as % of total current expenditure on education* 38%33%-52%33%11%-51% Current expenditure on lower secondary as % of total current expenditure on secondary education* 58%44%-74%56%45%-74% Education service delivery mode of organisation Unit cost (in % of GDP per capita) 23%17%-29%34%8%-63% Pupil-Teacher Ratio (all secondary)** 2716-462811-46 % of pupils in private schools 20%0%-71%24%6%-49% % of repeaters 11%0%-30%16%0%-37% Source: Pole de Dakar, 2006

28 Pointers for the future: African Secondary Education requires more funding for more efficient spending:  Donor Countries/Organisations must renew and honour financial commitments.External funding must carry predictability.  African Governments must prioritise secondary education and ensure earmarked funds are effectively and efficiently spent on education.

29 Multiplying synergies for secondary education in Africa WORLD BANK: SEIA 2003-2007 Regional Conferences, Thematic Studies, Participative Research for capacity building UNESCO/BREDA: Regional Workshops, Pole de Dakar regional reports, proposed Pool of expertise on Post Primary ADEA: Research and Analysis, Policy Dialogue, Working Group on Post Primary Bilateral Partners: e.g Norway’s NPEF……

30 ‘Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe’ (H.G.WELLS) Can Africa afford to waste the talents of its children? THANK YOU

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