A signing ceremony to formally complete the process to establish the Institute for Educational Planning and Administration (IEPA), located at the University of Cape Coast Ghana, as a UNESCO Category II Centre of Excellence for West Africa has been held at the UNESCO office in Paris last Thursday.
Anna Bossman,Ghana's Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to France and Portugal and Permanent Representative of Ghana to UNESCO, signed the agreement on behalf of the government of Ghana whilst Mrs Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, did same for UNESCO.
The agreement spells out the commitment of both parties and more specifically, addresses the mandate, responsibilities, and obligations of IEPA.
It would be recalled that the 40th Session of the General Conference of UNESCO in 2019 approved the elevation of IEPA to a UNESCO Category II Centre of Excellence for West Africa.
Ghana's delegation to the General Conference was led by the Minister of Education, Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh.
The General Conference further authorised the Director-General of UNESCO to sign the corresponding agreement with the government of Ghana for operations.
The signing completes the process and sets the tone for a new phase for IEPA to deliver on its new mandate.
A statement issued after the signing ceremony said "instructively, the IEPA as a UNESCO Category II Centre will build capacity of the work force in the education sector in the West African sub-region in the areas of Educational Planning, Leadership and Administration as well as mobilise international and regional experts to provide technical assistance and policy advice to support sector-wide planning and policy development."
The operations of IEPA according to the statement would be driven by four key strategic thrusts.
"First, to build and strengthen capacity of educational planners, leaders and administrators in the West African sub-region. Second, to support educational ministries within the sub-region to undertake sector-wide planning, policy development and implementation. Third, to promote cutting-edge research, innovation and consultancy in education service delivery. Fourth, to create a platform for, and mobilise educational experts in the sub-region to interrogate educational issues and provide policy advice to Ministries of Education of Member States," the statement said.
Instrumentally, the new IEPA UNESCO Category II Centre of Excellence for West Africa's operation the statement said would result in member states harnessing research and innovation to boost development and build related capacities, preparing policy briefs emanating from research in topical issues of educational equity and efficiency, and networking for collaborative work on the priority areas of UNESCO.