President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria convened a meeting at the World Economic Forum in Capetown, South Africa this week to hear from GBC-Education how the private sector can play a role in delivering more education and better learning for children who are missing out.
This is just what we want the coalition to be doing – right at the heart of the political process in a partnership that can successfully work towards our objectives.
President Jonathan was joined by Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Education Minister Prof. Ruqayyah Ahmed Rufa’I, Governor of Bayelsa State, His Excellency, Henry Seriake Dickso, and a number of the President’s key advisers. The UN Special Envoy for Global Education, was also invited to make opening remarks.
The largest numerical target for achieving Millennium Development Goal 2 (universal primary education) falls to Nigeria. As an emerging, economic powerhouse, with a growing sense of self-fulfillment as the ‘engine of Africa’, Nigeria faces huge and complex challenges for its 170 million (and growing) population. This is especially true for the 10.5 million out of school children.
GBC-Education members have focused on Nigeria as a key target for our activities since its formation, beginning with a dedicated meeting with its Finance and Education Ministers and in New York in September 2012. Since then, we have monitored the preparatory work for the April, 2013 ministerial meetings in Washington, DC (made available to members) and contributed both thought leadership and representation at the highest levels at the recent World Bank and White House meetings. The challenge we are presented with, combines unlocking political will at Federal and State levels in Nigeria; financing, teacher training, infrastructure, technical opportunities, content delivery plans, and addressing cultural barriers with pronounced regional variations.
The Capetown meeting included private sector representation from Dangote Group, INTEL, Pearson, Oando, McKinsey & Company and Accenture. ThisDay, Econet Wireless, Discovery Communications, and McArthur Foundation made submissions for the meeting.
President Jonathan agreed to the following actions resulting from the discussion:
> To receive a report from the UN Special Envoy for Global Education mapping out a proposed plan of action for all aspects of education and learning delivery.
> For the Education Minister to finalise and share the State by State (total 36) breakdown of the education targets, and highlight key barriers and opportunities within each of the six political zones in which States are grouped
> To receive a dossier from GBC-Education on what the private sector can put forward to play its role in delivering education for every child in all or specific States.
> To personally, as President, address the State Governors (who hold most of the national education budget) to call on their political, fiscal, and practical support to engage in education and learning delivery in their own States.
> To address a meeting in Nigeria, that GBC-Education would host/co-host in early July 2013 to be attended by the Governors to explore how to take this forward.
> For the Finance Minister to work with the UN Special Envoy for Global Education, GBC-Education, and other partners to prepare ‘packages’ of support including substantial donor funding, Nigerian federal and state funding, private sector support measures with a priority focus on teacher training, content development and Technology – and to offer these to a number of States chosen for their urgent need, likelihood of delivering results and agreement to outcomes and (simple) measurement.
President Jonathan also thanked everyone warmly for their interest and engagement, and pledged to continue to encourage and support the investment and commitment from external partners being shown to deliver education for many more children in Nigeria.
By Sarah Brown, Chair, GBC-Education