The problem of education and development in sub-Saharan Africa
African governments and donor partners have long regarded investment in education as being central to economic growth in the region – but this investment is yet to achieve rapid economic improvement. Why is that? And what should be done to better realise that goal? In this lecture, Professor Oketch addresses the compelling narrative of human capital theory – the doctrine, underpinning public policy world-wide, that investment in education is instrumental for economic growth – and what we can learn from its application in sub-Saharan Africa. In this, he draws on evidence from across different aspects of education policy, including (i) the provision of universal basic education, (ii) the focus on Technical Vocational Education and Training, and (iii) the financing of higher education. He highlights the impediments to growth from wider factors in the region, not least rampant corruption and civil war, but also poor implementation of an otherwise necessary focus on building the skills-base. However commanding human capital theory is, he argues, it remains tacit if the actual implementation of policies isn’t effective.