A Signing Ceremony took place at the UNESCO office in Paris on Thursday, 12th November 2020 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.
Her Excellency 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 spelt 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 on 15th November 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 Honourable Minister of Education, Dr. Mathew Opoku Prempeh. The General Conference further authorized the Director-General of UNESCO to sign the corresponding agreement with the Government of Ghana for operations. This signing completes the process and sets the tone for a new phase for IEPA to deliver on its new mandate.

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 mobilize international and regional experts to provide technical assistance and policy advice to support sector-wide planning and policy development. 

The operations of IEPA will be driven by four key strategic thrusts. First, to build and strengthen the 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 mobilize educational experts in the sub-region to interrogate educational issues and provide policy advice to Ministries of Education of Member States.

Instrumentally, the new IEPA UNESCO Category II Centre of Excellence for West Africa’s operation will 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. 

It is worthy to note that Ghana is committed to implementing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well as the African Union’s Agenda 2063. The elevation of IEPA to a UNESCO Category II status is part of the commitment of the West African governments to meet the above international agenda for education especially in meeting the SDG 4 which seeks to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.”