|The Courier N° 123 Sept - October 1990 - Dossier Higher Education - Country Reports: Barbados - (EC Courier, 1990, 104 p.)|
|Training schemes under Lomé II and III|
by BartholomMAT ARMENGOL and Jean-Pierre DUBOIS
Financial aspects and geographical breakdown
Education and training accounted for about 16% of total commitments to the Associated States of Africa and Madagascar under the 1st EDF, but their share had dropped considerably, to only 9 %, by the 4th EDF (Lom).
Under LomI, national and regional training schemes represented about ECU 268 m, i.e. slightly more than 8% of the 5th EDF (national and regional) programme funds, and there were training operations in some of the projects on top of this. But the vast majority (85 % of operations and 87 % of investment) was independent of projects and in most cases involved multiannual training programmes consisting mainly of study grants, seminars and tailormade technical assistance operations.
The situation in the different regions varied widely, with a high percentage of training schemes in Southern Africa and the Caribbean and a very low one in Central Africa and in the Horn (see box).
With LomII, the current total for known training schemes - i.e. both tied to and independent of projects and programmes - approaches the ECU 265 m mark, which is roughly 5.6% of (national and regional) programme funds under the 6th EDF. There is a difference with LomI here, in that this amount includes the training component of the major programmes and a reasonable assessment of the sums spent on education in the projects and programmes which went before the EDF Committee in 1989.
Regional differences persist. Although training schemes account for 5.6% of the 6th EDF programme funds overall, the Southern African percentage is far greater than that. The Caribbean figure is almost entirely accounted for by a heavy regional training component, as it was under LomI, while Southern Africa has a very large number of training (in the formal sense of the word) projects at both national and regional level.
And training represents a very small percentage of EDF-financed schemes in Central Africa, as it does in the Horn.
Lastly, the major training component in the coastal states of West Africa is very largely due to the emphasis on training schemes in Nigeria.
Multiannual training programmes are a thing of the past almost everywhere, but independent projects still account for a considerable volume of activity and investment and understandably so, since training programmes cannot just confine them-selves to the requirements of the focal sector, but have to bear general needs in mind too.
So, in financial terms, training schemes account for less under LomII than they did under LomI (ECU 265 m, or 5.6% of programme funds, as compared to ECU 268 m, or 8%).
This overall reduction works out very differently in the regions. Whereas the amounts spent on projects remain comparable in coastal and East Africa, there is an increase in Southern Africa and West Africa and a drop in Central Africa - a trend which has emerged among the funders too and in the countries South of the Sahara, which have been spending less and less on education over the past few years.
This decline in the amount the Community channels into training reflects the ACPs own reservations about their education and training systems - many of them seem to put no priority on educational support, in spite of the negative effect which structural adjustment programmes have on their education budget - as well as a change in the kind of schemes which it finances.
The Community began by financing educational infrastructure and then gradually added to this, from Yaound onwards, by paying for study grants and courses, sending out teaching staff, running special vocational training programmes and, more recently, promoting cooperation between institutions and universities.
The percentage of financing spent on infrastructure has decreased over the various Conventions and that spent on technical assistance and grants considerably increased.
Since the 1st EDF, the Community has financed a large number of primary and secondary education schemes, mainly building schools and teacher training, and this has partly continued under Lom11, in particular with financing for microprojects and refugee relief programmes (Article 204 of LomII) and, in some cases, use of the counterpart funds accruing from the various instruments.
But the bulk of Community aid has gone into the tertiary sector, both (and above all) into building and equipment and then, under LomI especially, increasingly into support packages combining technical assistance with equipment, staff improvement programmes, study grants and building and rehabilitation.
This tertiary sector drive includes general backing for universities and more targeted support, particularly for vocational technical training, science and mathematics, management, statistics, rural development and animal and human health, and it reflects a general trend among the funders and the ACP countries themselves, all of which have channelled a huge percentage of resources into education and advanced training.
The inter-institutional and inter-university cooperation of which there were one or two cases under Lom has been stepped up considerably under LomI, the largest number of schemes being in Nigeria and the countries of Southern Africa. The Third Convention in fact emphasises the importance of this departure and the Community cannot but encourage it.
Community-financed technical cooperation has taken other forms too. Funds have been provided for one or two trainer-experts in education ministries to help with the identification and running of training schemes in Swaziland (technical assistance at the Ministry of Education), Nigeria (formation of a Training Support Unit taking in the National Universities Commission, the NAO, the Ministry of Technology and the Ministry of Education), Sudan (Sudanese technical assistance with running the training programme) and Tanzania (in the big ASSP programme). But this type of cooperation remains an exception as far as the Community is concerned.
More common is the support given to ACP training institutions, often in the form of internal technical assistance with management, teaching or staff improvement programmes, as follows:
- Management support for programmes to put people in the picture about anti-desertification in the Sahel and in the coastal states of West Africa.
- Teaching support for institutions - pre-university science and mathematics training in various countries of Southern Africa, support for the University of Swaziland, for the Veterinary Faculty of Zimbabwe University, for Universities and Polytechnics in Nigeria etc.
- Staff Improvement Programmes - support for Makerere (Uganda), Uniswa (Swaziland), etc.
Another form of technical assistance involves organising ad hoc training courses locally, with European technical assistance, preferably as part of major programmes (such as the development of the Mono in Benin and support for training in the cooperative movement in Tanzania).
EEC and/or ACP consultants may also be sent out to identify training programmes, as has happened in Sudan, Nigeria, Swaziland, Uganda, the Solomon Islands, Benin and so on.
And there are the scholarship programmes. Although aid for training seems to involve a constantly dwindling number of study grants (this includes those for Europe), the decline is far from being as great as figures suggest, because LomII grants only began to be committed in late 1988 and the biggest commitments are yet to come.
The majority of ACP grant-holders in Europe study in the United Kingdom, followed by France and Belgium. This is easily explained by the traditional links with the former metropolises and by the fact that English-speaking ACP countries predominate. Language plays its part here, in spite of the effort some Member States have made with specialised (often post-graduate) programmes in English and/or French for developing country nationals.
Aspects of implementation
The Community began by financing training schemes, mainly through its multiannual training programmes - tailor-made study grant and technical assistance package.
LomII made an important change here and one which reflected an attitude which many funders adopted too. It involved focusing aid on certain sectors and, therefore, integrating the training schemes into the various programmes and projects, thus bringing the courses more into line with the specific needs of the economy and perhaps ensuring a better spread of training possibilities, to the benefit of informal and professional vocational subjects, so as to help make for greater democracy of opportunity.
The programming of programme-and project-linked training schemes fell badly behind under LomII. In many cases, the relevant training was not even identified, let alone provided, before the arrival of the technical assistance team responsible for running the programme, and some times not so for several years after approval of the programme by the Commission.
At the same time, specific support for national and regional training institutes is of course still possible under LomII and many such operations have been run. And there are training programmes which are based on studies of exact needs and better integrated than the old multiannual ones used to be.
The Community is now making a considerable effort to improve its identification and programming of training schemes - an effort which may help to explain the delay in financial commitments - but it still does not have the human resources it needs, either in Brussels or in the Delegations, to improve the quality and quantity of these operations. Accordingly there is no guarantee of proper follow-up. The decline in the relative value of training funds from Lom l to LomII in fact corresponds to a considerable increase in the number of training schemes, particularly in Southern Africa and Nigeria.
The various aspects of the volume of finance channelled into training schemes are not necessarily significant, although the decline in resources spent on education and training does not, of course suggest that it is high on the Communitys list of priorities. The decisive thing is the contribution which training makes to the viability of development projects and to the improvement of training institutes required for national development. This contribution will be improved by a more precise definition of training needs and by tighter contol at the stage of project definition.
This means that, even though the Community does not see training and education as a priority in its relations with the ACPs, its work in this field is vital nonetheless, bearing in mind the restrictive attitude of many of the funders and the reluctance of the ACP countries themselves.
The Community still has an effort to make here, however, as in many cases it has still not managed to bring in the training schemes needed to improve the viability of development projects.