UNESCO and China tackle teacher gap in Africa

Ethiopia, Namibia, and Cote D’Ivoire have been selected as the first three countries for the implementation of a new project on quality education through teacher training supported by UNESCO and the Government of China.

This initiative marks the beginning of a new partnership: it is the first time UNESCO has received financial support in this area from China.

Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, launched the project on 22 November at the close of the 2012 Global EFA Meeting (GEM).

"It is timely to launch this project in the context of the GEM meeting because we have been speaking passionately here about how to make a strong move to accelerate progress towards Education for All,” said Ms Bokova. “It supports our Priority Africa focus and our drive to train more teachers in the run up to 2015. I believe that together we can make a real difference in countries that are not on track to meet the Millennium Development Goal on universal primary education," she added.

Starting in early 2013, the four-year initiative will focus on enhancing teacher education systems in eight countries so as to train an adequate number of qualified teachers to achieve EFA. Project activities will boost national capacity in ministries and key teacher training institutions, staff skills and competencies and supporting resources such as a knowledge base, with ICT as a major component. 

By enhancing quality education, the project is in line with UNESCO’s work on EFA, the Millennium Development Goals and the UN Secretary-General’s Education First initiative. It is implemented within the context of UNESCO’s new teacher strategy and within the framework of south-south cooperation.