ADEA Biennial Meeting in
Dakar, October 1997
Richard Crabbe is chairperson of APNET and Managing
Director of Africa Christian Press, PO Box 30, Achimota, Ghana. Fax
+233 21 200271/668115; e-mail: email@example.com
Dakar, Senegal provided the setting for the Association
for the Development of Education in Africa's (ADEA) fourth biennial
meeting. This was the first time the Association had met in Africa and
the Senegalese hosts did everything to leave a positive impression in
the minds of participants. From the airport to the venue overlooking
the Atlantic Ocean, and back to the airport, one was made to feel part
of a special meeting.
ADEA aimed at redefining how its two major constituents
- African ministers of education and training, and funding agencies
- relate to one another. The meeting brought together over 300 participants
including ministers and senior officers from the funding agency community.
The opening ceremony included addresses by the
World Bank's vice-president for Africa, Sweden's state secretary for
international development co-operation and the secretary of state of
the French ministry of co-operation. In contrasting styles, presidents
Museveni of Uganda and Abdou Diouf of Senegal gave keynote speeches.
The younger Museveni spoke in a humorous and often informal manner,
while Diouf used a more formal style. The Ugandan president challenged
African ministers and education professionals to do more with existing
funds. President Diouf appealed for more funds for educational programmes.
Mr Ingamar Gustafsson, Chair of ADEA, welcomed
participants. Mr Amanya Mushaga, interim chairperson and Ugandan minister
of education urged fellow education ministers to use their influence
to convene a special Organisation of African Unity (OAU) heads of state
meeting on education. This would highlight the importance the OAU attaches
to its declaration of the years 1997 to 2006 as the Decade of Education
Under the theme `Partnerships for capacity building
and quality improvements in education' the plenary sessions focused
on ways to develop national capacity, ownership of programmes, improving
quality, and partnerships. These sessions featured reports from ADEA's
Almost all papers presented had been circulated
earlier, or a synopsis was available in the conference programme booklet.
This facilitated understanding and enabled participants to come prepared
with questions for clarification.
Early afternoons on the second and third days
were devoted to full discussion sessions on selected topics arising
out of the plenaries. The Working Groups met during late afternoon.
Although the overall atmosphere was informal, it was quite obvious that
brisk business took place.
APNET's delegation comprised executive secretary
Gillian Nyambura, Senegalese representative Djibril Faye, and chairperson
In practical demonstration of the increasing partnership
between ADEA's Working Group on Books and Learning Materials (WGBLM)
and APNET, the former secured APNET's invitation to the meeting. This
is remarkable, because several other NGOs could not receive invitations
as space was oversubscribed. Further, during the first plenary session
WGBLM convenor Carew Treffgarne teamed up with Richard Crabbe, offering
APNET six minutes of the 20-minute schedule. Six other minutes went
for a presentation on the importance of literacy development. APNET
also showcased its promotional materials at the WGBLM display stand.
All items were gone by the third day.
The relaxed atmosphere and mealtimes at the conference
centre allowed participants to meet for informal discussions. APNET's
new contacts included the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, World
Space Foundation and ministers of education.
My impressions as a first-timer were that much
of ADEA's real work is done through the Working Groups, several of which
met before and during the Biennale. Judging from comments received and
follow-up meetings and correspondence since the meeting, APNET received
positive exposure and is being regarded more and more as a partner with
governments, especially in the education sector. The challenge for APNET
now is to follow up and develop better relationships at national level
between ministries of education and publishers' associations. [end] [BPN,
no 21, 1997, p 4.]
to table of contents for BPN Newsletter 21, 1997 >>