By Patience Gbeze/Abena Sika Otchere, GNA
Accra, June 11, GNA – A national evaluation workshop to help accelerate progress towards the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the member countries of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has opened in Accra.
The goal is to aid the countries to develop a broad framework to guide them in their efforts to achieve gender equality and inclusion.
The workshop, organized by UNESCO’s Internal Oversight Service, is part of an initiative dubbed “Making evaluation work for SDG 4 Target 5”.
The SDG 4 (Target 5) focuses on eliminating gender disparities in education, to ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable - persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples, and children in vulnerable situation by year 2030.
While a global monitoring framework exists to inform UNESCO member states of where they stand on their way to achieving SDG 4, there is not yet a broadly accepted evaluation framework that tells them why they stand where they are and how they can accelerate their progress towards attaining the SDGs.
Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, a Deputy Minister of Education, noted that Ghana was one of the first countries to aver itself to voluntary peer review mechanism on the SDGs at the United Nations and commended the UNESCO for organizing the workshop to further discuss ways to develop national framework to enhance the attainment of the SDG 4.5.
He said Ghana is fully committed to achieving the SDGs and Office of the SDG Advisory Unit set up at the presidency as well as a specially created Ministry of Planning, which among other things, serves as oversight of the work of all the other Ministries, especially when it concerns SDG.
He said considerable efforts went into the preparation of voluntary national report and its validation to ensure that all stakeholders have a say in whatever Ghana finally reports.
However, without a standard global evaluation framework it would risk the country’s progress or under estimate its progress of the SDGs and perhaps not serving the right annual target in the country towards the achievements of these goals, he said.
He commended UNESCO for the initiative to discuss the framework for evaluating work being done in Ghana and other countries towards SDGs 4.5.
Dr Adutwum also reiterated government commitment towards issues bordering on women and children, adding that “government will do everything possible to ensure the socio-economic development of all.
He said access, quality and relevance are key to achieving total education for all and stressed on the need to emphasise on training to ensure that no one is left behind.
He said to achieve that, the Ministry of Education was ensuring that they have capacity to take on policies as well as review some to ensure total inclusion, citing the increase in the number of years of training in the college of Education from three years to four years as one of such efforts to build capacity to address the issues.
Abdourahamane Diallo, UNESCO Representative to Ghana, said the workshop came at the time that Ghana is reviewing its voluntary national report to ensure that no one was left behind.
He said to address SDG 4. 5, there was the need to discuss how well the development agenda of each country is responding to women’s needs, including People with Disabilities.
He noted that the initiative has won a response, to gap the target specific in focus to SDG 4. 5.
He expressed the hope that the workshop would undoubtedly provide more feedback to the country from another perspective, especially in the areas of gender education, how well the education system is responding to the needs of vulnerable persons, including persons with disabilities, women, girls and innocent children.