Open Letter to African Leaders

28 Nov

Protect and revitalize higher education in Africa.

“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

Lameck Okeyo, Iduka Volunteer Intern at Kenyatta University near Nairobi, Kenya

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: AU Head of Education Division and to all African leaders Jolandie Rust will meet during her Cycle for Education tour of Africa.


1) Signing the petition;

2) Spreading the word far and wide! Please re-post the link on your social network sites by clicking on the Facebook and Twitter icons below;

3) Clicking on the “+ Share” icon below to get to the Email button that enables you to send this forward action alert  to your friends, family members and colleagues.

Thank you for caring about higher education in Africa!


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