At the World Education Forum (Dakar, 2000) the international community reaffirmed its vision of Education for All (EFA) through the Dakar Framework for Action which set six major EFA goals: (i) early childhood care and education, (ii) free and compulsory primary education for all, (iii) appropriate learning and life skills for young people and adults (iv) adult literacy (v) gender parity and equality and (vi) quality of education. Four quantifiable goals were set for 2015: increasing adult literacy by 50%, ensuring universal primary education, gender parity and equality, and quality of education, measured by the survival rate to grade 5.
While some tangible progress has been made since 2000 towards the EFA goals, many countries still lag behind. In particular, the majority of the countries which were furthest away from UPE in 2000 have made insufficient progress towards achieving free and compulsory primary education by 2015. The most significant limitations are the lack of sufficient space, resources and teachers to address the learning needs of the most disadvantaged children. National capacity to collect and process data and information for informed policymaking and implementation to hire sufficient numbers of qualified teachers is often weak. As the demand for quality teachers increases, disparities in teacher qualifications only worsens; schools and areas with better working conditions and higher salaries bid away the better qualified teachers from already difficult-to-staff schools.
The international agenda also tends to overlook the national or local contexts; traditional, indigenous and cultural views of an education of quality, as well as of the role and status of the educator or teacher. This can lead to conceptual and empirical flaws in international research made in a non-participatory manner.
The purpose of this paper is to review and analyze existing policies and practices that have been undertaken by the governments of Cameroon and Nigeria to address the teacher gap in basic education, indicating their commitment to the goals of Education for All.
NERA 42nd Congress 'Education for sustainable development', 5-7 March 2014, Lillehammer, Norway