By Cecil Mensah
A book dubbed, ‘Education in West Africa’ has been launched to tell how the West African sub-region dealt with the challenges in education since the colonial days.
The book which has inputs from all the fifteen –member states of the region, was edited by Dr Emefa Takyi-Amoako, Chief Executive Officer of Oxford ATP International Education.
Speaking at the launch attended by Prof. Gilbert Kuupole, Vice Chancellor of Cape Coast University, Prof. Abena Dolphyne, former Dean of the Linguistics Department of the University of Ghana, Second Lady, Matilda Amissah-Arthur, representatives of the former President, John Agyekum Kufour and the President John Dramani Mahama, Dr Takyi-Amoako, said the West African sub-region has allowed its educational sector to be driven by external pressures.
She said, the region’s educational system, has largely been linked to the bilateral and donor agencies,thereby making the future of education in the sub-Saharan Africa bleak.
According to her, the region is lagging behind, when it comes to universal primary education because 80 percent of children of school going age are out of school.
She said, majority of the region’s adolescents in the sub-region are out of school with only four percent of girls enrolled in schools.
She further explained that this has accounted for the low levels of illiteracy in the sub-region.
She said, 26 percent of adult youth illiterates live in the region at the time when education was needed for the growing youthful population.
She added that this was so because, most of the teachers engaged in the sub-region to teach are without the necessary training.
She explained that even though the region has 60 to 70 percent youth population there is no technical and vocational training institutions in the sub-region to absorb and engage them.
The sub-regionalso has challenges in the higher education hence majority of the youth in the region not being able to make it to the tertiary level.
She appealed to the government to take a look at the Kenyan module of using mobile phones to boost education in the country.
According to her, Kenya was using the use of mobile phones to boost the levels of education among the youth of the country.
Speaking on behalf of the President; Mr. Oppong Fossu, Minister of State at the Presidency, said the President at the forty-seventh ordinary session of the Economic Community of West African States(ECOWAS) in Accra, charged the commission to take up the issue of youth unemployment in the sub-region.
According to him, the problem of youth unemployment if not addressed in the region, will have dire consequences for each country.
He said, the book “Education in West Africa” will give readers the window of opportunity to see where countries in the region have arrived in regards to their educational systems.