The Minister of Education and Chairperson of the Ghana National Commission for UNESCO Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang has been elected to serve a four-year term of office on the Executive Board of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
This was announced at the just-ended special plenary session of the 38th General Conference of the Organisation at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France.The Executive Board of UNESCO ensures the overall management of the Organisation’s programmes globally.It also prepares the work of the General Conference and sees to the effective implementation of its decisions. The functions and responsibilities of the Executive Board are derived from the UNESCO Constitution, as well as the rules of procedure of the General Conference.Ghana has also been appointed as the Rapporteur General of the Communication and Information Commission (CI) of the General Conference. The Commission is currently discussing UNESCO’s strategy in harnessing ICTs in education to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).The election of Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang has come at a time when UNESCO and the international community as a whole have lauded Ghana’s progress and achievements in the Education for All (EFA) goals, particularly, the significant growth in access and participation across all the levels of education in the country, from pre-primary to tertiary, in terms of absolute numbers and proportions.For instance, Primary net enrolments increased from 30% in 1999 to 89.3% in 2014 while gross enrolments at Pre-primary rose from 47% to 128% and a net of 90.8% over the same period.Addressing the Heads of delegations and UNESCO Ambassadors from 196 Member States during the policy debate segment, the Minister for Education commended UNESCO for leading the world to make huge improvement in education under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).She said, even if a lot of work remains to be done, the international community is entering the SDGs with a lot of hope and trust in the ability of UNESCO to continue to make a difference by working towards global peace through education, the sciences, culture, communication and information.According to her, Ghana’s post 2015 agenda on education is right at the centre of SDG 4 and hinges on four main policy thrusts in line with the Agenda for Education 2030 (SDG.4), as well as the broader Africa Union vision 2063 (The Africa We Want) which seeks to harness the vast resources of the continent for the effective transformation of Africa.Ghana’s post 2015 education agenda she noted seeks to improve equitable access to and participation in quality education at all levels (SDG.4); improve the quality of Teaching and Learning at all levels (SDG 4.7); improve the management of Education service delivery with focus on efficiency; and rebrand Technical and Vocational Education Training and general skills development (SDG 4.3 and 4.4) as a means of stemming the growing unemployment.Prof. Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang also stated that significant steps so far taken in Ghana include: Establishment of a broad-based governance structure which includes Statutory National Technical committees with wide stakeholder representation; Operationalization of the National TVET Qualification Framework; Adoption of Competency – Based Training (CBT) model/concept with emphasis on linkage with industry; and The crafting of a National TVET policy among others.The Minister who is leading Ghana’s delegation to the 38th General Conference is accompanied by H. E, Johannes Odonkor Svanikier, and Ghana’s Ambassador to France and Permanent Delegate to UNESCO, Prof. Yaw Ankomah, Institute of Educational Planning and Administration (IEPA) of the University of Cape Coast and H.E. Riche-Mike Wellinton, Secretary-General of the Ghana National Commission for UNESCO.By: Stephen Odoi-Larbi