A Pan-African conference on education in Nairobi on Friday resolved to ensure adequate recruitment and deployment, motivation and professional support for teachers across the continent.
The one-week meeting, attended by 600 delegates from 53 African countries, also agreed to strengthen teacher training and professional development programmes at all levels of education.
The meeting, also attended by President Uhuru Kenyatta, resolved to recognise teachers as full-fledged professionals and agree on common qualification frameworks for Africa.
Kenya has a total of 312,000 teachers employed by the government while both primary and secondary schools have a shortage of 155,000 teachers.
Addressing the forum, President Kenyatta challenged the leaders and scholars to come up with African answers to Africa’s problem.
He said education would help Africa transform, but that would not happen if half of the continent’s children still miss school.
“This conference comes at a time when we require a clearer understanding of education in Africa in order to confront challenges the continent must overcome,” the President said.
He added: “After solving the puzzle why so many children miss school, the next topic for discussion should be to understand what it means to educate an African child.”
President Kenyatta said the African Union has prepared a blueprint for education in Africa and it awaits implementation.
“We have identified the answers to our problems in education; we already know what works.
"What remains is to implement the solutions, and to also forge partnerships with each other and with our friends — many of them represented here today,” he added.
The President called for more cooperation between governments, parents and multilateral agencies to expand education opportunities and also improve quality.
Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed said the outcome of the conference is expected to significantly contribute towards advancing Agenda 2063 and achievement of the AU vision of “The Africa We Want”.
Prof Sarah Agbor, the AU commissioner for human resources, science and technology, urged African nations to unite and implement policies which enhance education and accelerate development.
The stakeholders also resolved to promote teaching and learning in the language of the home and neighbouring environment, especially in early years of education; and develop policies to safeguard and raise the status and value of African languages.
The leaders also committed themselves to integrated approaches to early childhood development, care and education policies, programming and financing with an emphasis on marginalized and vulnerable children, with the commitment to progressively ensure at least one year of free and compulsory pre-primary education and with the active participation of families and communities.