Education and training schemes under Lomé IV
Articles 150 and 151 of the new Convention (in annex) describe
priority education and training schemes.
Education and training needs are to be identified at the
programming stage (i.e. in the indicative programme), a requirement which also
applies to projects and programmes to be financed from the counterpart funds.
They are to be geared to the sectoral aims of the indicative programme and are
therefore linked to Community aid - a LomV innovation which should make for
the fastest possible implementation of training schemes.
These training schemes may be clearly identified, integrated
programmes and preferably run in focal sectors, although this does not rule out
those in other sectors too.
All major development programmes will have to have training
sections which start up, if possible, before the programmes themselves and not
several years afterwards as was often the case under LomII.
Level of education
Article 151 of LomV contains an important change in that it
puts priority in this field on support for primary education and literacy
schemes - a response to what is a totally reasonable request from the ACPs,
bearing in mind the general state of their primary schools. This is another of
Nevertheless, in view of the Communitys present experience
of higher education and technical and vocational training, some importance must
be placed on continuing support in these two areas, with local training courses
in ACP institutions still to the fore and regional training institutions getting
The Communitys support for higher education and technical
and vocational training will still be geared to:
- keeping the teachers in their jobs and improving the
intellectual and material environment of teaching in various ways, with staff
improvement programmes, management support, research support (particularly in
libraries) and help with building accommodation for teachers;
- regional training institutions, perhaps with a grants fund
(supplied by the regional funds and allocated for courses in regional
institutions), and inter-university cooperation;
- rehabilitating buildings and equipment.
Education and the social aspects of adjustment
Education may be an essential part of the social dimension of
adjustment policies and one which the Community may want to single out with the
World Bank - i.e. where appropriate, to discuss projected adjustment measures
and reforms affecting the whole of the system of education with the World Bank
and the ACPs concerned. This is something which did not happen under LomII
and it is the most important innovation of the new Convention.
The Community could run a basic sectoral dialogue here, on the
countrys education policy, within certain limits and with a view to two
kinds of financial support:
(i) to formulate particular aspects of the education policy
envisaged within the framework of an adjustment programme. This could be in the
form of technical assistance;
(ii) to encourage particular schemes. This could be combined
with technical assistance.
Given its limited human and financial possibilities at the
moment, it can only hope to have such discussions with a limited number of ACP
countries. Most of its training schemes, in fact, will be a continuation of work
done under LomII.
And it will have to adopt a very gradual approach to commitments
in this limited number of countries, initially only agreeing to the possible
financing of some aspects of the educational reforms which the ACP and the World
Bank propose if these aspects are in line with Community objectives.
With education policies, it has to be realised that the effect
of measures which are proposed to, forced upon or chosen by a country is never
the anticipated one, as the following example show:
- It may seem legitimate, as the World Bank systematically
suggests, to support primary and secondary schooling to the detriment of higher
education, although without always asking why attendance is poor.
- Another problem is that a number of funders systematically
support educational reforms which put far more stress on technical and
vocational training than general courses. Is this effective when it comes to
looking for a job? And is it financially justified?
The Community will be especially careful to take the individual
features of the various education systems into account, as their costs (of
salaries, supervision etc), for example, may be made up in different countries
in different ways. And it will be sure to go for the restrictive measures that
are socially the least difficult to apply.
The Community might envisage an educational SIP (Special Import
Programme) under certain conditions, a useful instrument, particularly when it
comes to delivering the teaching materials and equipment that are vital to the
running of all or part of an education system.
It is important to realise that the Community does not have the
human resources to start up a proper dialogue on these issues with the ACP
So the first risk it runs is of wasting these meagre resources
in its relations with other funders, some of whom, the World Bank for example,
are in a de facto position of dominance. The Communitys relations with
this body are in fact outpacing its relations with the ACP countries, perverting
LomV dangerously and entailing a real political risk.
The second risk is that of forcing the ACPs to undertake
educational reforms without an adequate knowledge of their institutions and
without a thoroughgoing dialogue with them. So the ACPs have to know what they
want and to tell the Community so.