Inequalities: World Bank, experts charge African leaders on research, policy, implementation

By Caleb Ayansina

ABUJA – The World Bank and experts in education system have called on African Leaders to pay greater attention to research, policy and practice in their countries to address inequalities and reduce poverty level in the continent.

The Representative of World Bank, Dr. Olatunde Adekola said economy of a country with poor literacy level would remain crawling until the leadership takes step to boost the standard of education system.

Adekola stated this along other international experts in education system at the just concluded 10th Pan African Literacy For All Conference (PALFA) 2017, in Abuja.

PALFA Conference, which happens once in two years, has its theme for this year: “Connecting and Engaging with Literacies: Systems and Structures for Sustainable Development.”

Adekola, who was also the Chairman of the conference, said it was not enough to increase rate of school enrolment in the country without providing necessary materials to improve their reading abilities.

“It is not enough to bring these children in to school. Do you have enough teachers to teach them? Do you have enough class room to put them?” he stated.

The Senior Education Specialist, WBG, said that they were already working on ways of assisting Nigerian government to have a sound data bank that would help them plan for the future to improve literacy level.

According to him, “We will help the government to improve its data system; you must have good information system to be able to plan well. You cannot move forward if you don’t have accurate data to work with.”

In his remarks, the Chairman, Board of Trustees of the Reading Association of Nigeria (RAN), Prof. Chukwuemeka Onukaogu, said the difference between the Africa and the western world was research, policy and practice.

The Don maintained that the developed countries place premium on research and used it for development, but in Africa, the reverse is the case.

“Go to Universities, other huger institutions, research gets the least budget, ” adding that this signified that Africa and its leaders attach little or no importance to research in the continent.

The President of RAN, Mrs Irene Mbanefo, explained that the conference was designedbring together literacy leaders in Africa to interrogate ways of connecting and engaging with literacies and approaches to literacy development.

She added that the conference would provide opportunities for stakeholders to identify and establish evidence-driven measures to spur Africans to connect and engage with literacies for sustainable development across gender.

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