Foundation to train 10,000 principals

Bill Clinton and the Clinton Global Initiative unveiled a new plan today to provide leadership training for principals in developing countries. Over the next four years, 10,000 principals in Kenya, Ghana and India will work with the Varkey GEMS Foundation and the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). 

For the first year, 50 to 60 trainers will work with 500 principals in these countries, according to the UN News Center. For the next three years, the 500 principals will be charged with training their peers. The groups are estimating that up to 10 million children could benefit from the program. 

Nigeria’s “education apartheid”

A blog posted today on Nigeria’s Daily Times argues that a growing economic divide between rich and poor, coupled with the rise of private education and deterioration of the public schools, has left the country with a largely overlooked “education apartheid.”

The author paints a bleak picture of the public schools that rich families flee in favor of higher quality private schools and poor students are stuck in, noting that, among other things, 25 percent of teachers aren’t even qualified to teach according to the Universal Basic Education Commission.

Blaming dictator Ibrahim Babangida and cuts he made public education, the blog details how schools in the country were not always in such a sorry state and argues that the government is neglecting its constitutional promises to students, concluding:

The options before our rulers are stark and clear. They can continue down the path of “separate development” in which the best facilities are available to a tiny few, and be prepared to reap the whirlwind when the resentment and tensions reach boiling point. Or they can remember their constitutional obligations and invest in our public schools and create adequate educational opportunities for all according to merit and not ability to pay. UNESCO insists that at least 7% of GDP should be allocated to education. Neither UNESCO nor the World Bank knows what percentage of its GDP Nigeria spends on education. We need to increase public spending in education to recruit more teachers in public schools, offer them decent terms and conditions in order to attract better calibre recruits, invest in their training, improve the infrastructure, build more schools and equip them adequately.

We can’t afford to continue to leave the future of the economically disadvantaged majority of Nigerians in the hands of semi-literate, disinterested teachers in environments that are woefully inadequate for learning. That would be a recipe for disaster.