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Submitted by Bob Prouty on
Shanta, This is really an unworthy blog post, with a line of lazy reasoning that just doesn't hold up under scrutiny. You argue that learning levels in Africa are low, and African teacher unions are to blame because they oppose efforts to improve learning. And you go on to conclude that all of this means that Africa should focus 'exclusively' on learning, presumably leaving the remaining out-of-school children to fend for themselves. The one piece of evidence you cite to support the idea that African teacher unions oppose efforts to improve learning is a Merilee Grindle book that says nothing about Africa at all, and in fact says that education reforms in Latin America failed precisely because teacher unions weren't invited to take part in the design and were 'systematically ignored' by the education reformers (pp. 199,120). You blame politics, neglect and teacher ignorance (do you really think that only 11% of teachers in Tanzania have a working knowledge of Swahili?). Seems a bit odd to overlook war and poverty...I work for the Global Partnership for Education, active in most of the low-income countries in Africa, and have found teacher unions to be enthusiastic supporters of efforts to improve learning. Your blog post is simply wrong on the facts, and wrong on the inferences it draws.