Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tell African leaders: stay the course of ensuring MDG 2 without de-funding higher education

Targeting: Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf (President of the Republic and Head of State of Liberia), Mamadou Tandja (Président de la République du Niger et Chef de l’Etat), King Mswati III (King of Swaziland), see more...Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf (President of the Republic and Head of State of Liberia), Mamadou Tandja (Président de la République du Niger et Chef de l’Etat), King Mswati III (King of Swaziland), Abdoulaye Wade (Président de la République du Sénégal), Colonel Muammar Gaddafi (Leader of the Great 1st September Revolution of the Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya ), Paul Kagame (Président de la République Rwandaise), José Eduardo dos Santos (Presidente da República de Angola), Laurent Gbagbo (Président de la République de Côte d’Ivoire), Mohamed Abdelaziz (Président de la République Arabe Sahraouie Démocratique), Joseph Kabila (Président de la République Démocratique du Congo), Yoweri Kaguta Museveni (President of the Republic of Uganda), Pedro Verona Rodrigues Pires (Presidente da República de Cabo Verde), Zine El Abidine Ben Ali (Président de la République Tunisienne), Dr. Fradique Bandeira Melo de Menezes (Presidente da República de São Tomé e Príncipe), Omar Hassan Ahmed Elbashir (President of the Republic of The Sudan), Girma Woldegiorgis (President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia), Isaias Afwerki (President of the State of Eritrea), Rupiah Bwezani Banda (President of the Republic of Zambia), Denis Sassou-Nguesso (Président de la République du Congo), Amadou Toumani Touré (Président de la République du Mali), King Letsie III (King of Lesotho), Mwai Kibaki (President of the Republic of Kenya), Mohammed Hosny Mubarak (President of the Arab Republic of Egypt ), Pierre Nkurunziza (Président de la République du Burundi), Blaise Compaoré (Président du Burkina Faso, Président du Conseil des Ministres), François Bozizé (Président de la République Centrafricaine), Idriss Deby (Président de la République du Chad), Bingu Wa Mutharika (President of the Republic of Malawi), Abdelaziz Bouteflika (Président de la République Algérienne Démocratique et Populaire), Armando Emílio Guebuza (Presidente da República de Moçambique), Paul Biya (Président de la République du Cameroun), Hifikepunye Pohamba (President of the Republic of Namibia), Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh (Head of State of the Republic of The Gambia), Faure Essozimna Gnassingbe (Président de la République Togolaise), Robert Gabriel Mugabe (President of the Republic of Zimbabwe), and Obiang Nguema Mbasogo (Président et Chef d’Etat de la République de Guinée Equatoriale )


“Contrary to the conventional wisdom that basic education is sufficient for African development, higher education builds the intellectual capital required for sustainable development.” — Suzanne Grant Lewis, Partnership for Higher Education in Africa

African Leaders need to know that their constituents care about education and support their commitment to the Millennium Development Goal (MDG 2) of achieving universal primary education for all by 2015. However, that cannot happen at the expense of higher education.

Rwanda’s recent decision to reallocate a large percentage of its higher education budget to the primary education sector is not the model to follow if we are serious about accommodating the newly enrolled primary school aged children, eradicating poverty and unleashing Africa’s full potential.

According to the UNESCO, a total of 1.2 million additional teachers are needed in the region to reach the internationally agreed goal of getting all children into primary school by 2015. Without continuing investment in higher education we will not be able to train these new teachers and ensure that, by 2015, all children have access to and complete primary education that is free, compulsory and of good quality.

Adding to the pressure is the impact of the global financial crisis that is forcing many poor countries to make further cuts to higher education. The Global Campaign for Education (GCE) reported earlier this month that “Mozambique’s education sector, which has made remarkable progress over the past 10 years, narrowly avoided having to cut 20% of its education funding and reduce by half its new school building programme following a last minute and much welcomed bail-out by the World Bank which provided $56 million.”

If we are to meet the MDG 2, we must stand up against drastic money-saving measures, including enlarging classes, closing schools, laying off teachers, and imposing further cuts to higher education.

You can help protect and revitalize higher education in Africa! Ask African leaders to strengthen higher education by signing this petition now. We will deliver this petition to the: Heads of State of the African Union, AU Chairperson, AUC Chairperson, AU Human Resources, Science and Technology Commissioner, and AU Head of Education Division on January 30-31, 2011 at the 16th Assembly of Heads of State and Government to be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

CALL TO ACTION: Spread the word far and wide! Make sure to post a link on your social network sites by clicking on the Facebook and Twitter buttons under "Recruit Supporters". It is also important that you click on the Email button to send this forward action alert to your friends, family members and colleagues.

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