12 December 2017
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Sunday, 26 November 2017 11:54

Africa’s access to education facing challenges - Expert

Written by  Pauline Kaude, in Cairo Egypt

Cairo, November 25, 2017:  Access to education remains a challenge to children in most African countries, a development which is negatively affecting productivity on the continent.

Addressing participants attending the 50th training for African Journalists currently underway in Cairo (Egypt), Secretary General of the Union of African Journalists (UAJ), Dr Samia Abbas, said it is unfortunate that only a few children on the continent are able to attend primary and/or elementary school.

She said 16 million children in Africa do not have access to education as per the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) statistics.

She attributed the worrisome development to numerous challenges affecting the education sector such as inadequate funding and human capital.

“A lot of children drop out or don’t go to school at all due to long distances, lack of money for school fees and uniform and inadequate infrastructure in most schools, among other factors,” said Abbas.

She also cited corruption as another factor hindering access to quality education on the continent, adding that most schools are poorly maintained, affecting attendance in the long run.

The UAJ secretary general, however, described as encouraging, though at a slow pace, efforts made by various governments by coming up with policies and initiatives to increase children’s access to education.

She implored with the citizenry to hold their relevant governments accountable and join the fight against corruption to attain transparency and efficiency in the sector.

“We need to build good infrastructure in the education sector as well as equip teachers with adequate knowledge and skills besides establishing additional educational facilities,” she said.

Malawi is currently implementing a number of initiatives aimed at increasing access to education, such as the free primary school education, incentives to teachers for instance, the rural hardship allowance and the Keeping Girls in School initiative among others.

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