Education for rural people in Africa

Education for rural people in Africa

Exploring policy to link rural education and development in Africa

This document reports on the presentations and recommendations of a regional seminar to consider education for rural people in Africa. In recognition of the cross-cutting impacts of education, health, and economic and social development, the seminar brought together representatives from regional and international organisations as well as ministries of education, agriculture, rural development and fisheries from eleven African countries: Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Guinea, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Niger, Senegal, South Africa, Uganda and Tanzania.

Key points from the report include:

  • as the majority of Africa’s population live in rural areas, and the most disadvantaged populations are concentrated in rural and remote areas, efforts to achieve education goals must be responsive to, and prioritise, the needs of rural populations
  • some progress has been made in developing good practice, such as participatory approaches, but more must be done
  • strategies to deliver education must respond to the diversity of rural populations. Effective approaches will include distance and non-formal learning, school feeding programmes, strengthening early childhood care and education, establishing feeder schools and clusters, promoting multi-grade schools and feeder schools, reforming teacher recruitment and deployment, and promoting vocational education and training for rural development and sustainable livelihoods
  • not only attendance, but also the quality of education is important. To improve quality, there is a need for better access to learning materials, better incentives for rural teachers, a more relevant curriculum that includes life skills and HIV and AIDS education, as well as agricultural skills. Infrastructure and services also need to be improved

The report concludes with the ministers’ recommendations to improve education for rural people. These centre around the need for:

  • positive discrimination towards rural people, especially giving budget priority to rural education services
  • using participatory approaches to planning, monitoring and evaluation
  • ensuring inter-sectoral cooperation, particularly between education ministries and ministries for agriculture and rural development