New Leadership and Priorities
August 17, 2009 – 10:30 a.m.
|Presenters:||Ambassador James Michel, Counselor to USAID|
John Sullivan, Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid (ACVFA)
Steve Moseley, Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid (ACVFA)
Michael Yates, USAID EGAT Bureau
|Moderator:||David Barth, USAID Office of Education |
The Opening Remarks for the Education and Training Workshop were given by David Barth, the new Director of the Office of Education (EGAT/ED). Barth affirmed the importance of the Workshop in bringing together USAID staff and implementers from around the world to share their experiences in education programming and management. He expressed his concern regarding the growing youth bulge, and the need to integrate education into successful economic growth initiatives, supported by a generation of active and educated youth.
Ambassador James Michel, Counselor to USAID, addressed the technical capacity and expertise needed to expand development assistance. With a growing USAID budget, Michel stressed the need to match funding with human resource capacity. The Development Leadership Initiative has been created to address this issue. Michel also stressed the need to integrate education and training with governance to ensure alignment with local communities and country strategies. In expanding access to basic education, progress has been impressive but there is still a learning gap; there are still too many children who cannot go to school and, particularly in places where populations have been growing, the strain on education quality has been profound.
John Sullivan and Steve Moseley, members of the Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid (ACVFA), addressed areas where education policies and programs need further development. Seconding the concern of David Barth, Sullivan noted the youth bulge and its detrimental effects on economic and social stability in many countries. Steve Moseley’s remarks were centered on the connection between education and economic growth; it is evident from USAID’s work worldwide that countries are working to achieve qualitative change in education, and integrating education across sectors.
A lively question and answer session focused on the future of USAID and its relationship with other USG agencies. Ambassador Michel affirmed that part of the U.S. diplomatic agenda is development, and resources and political attention should be given to education in the overall context of foreign policy. USAID must be smart in the way it designs programs and must work with, and even lead, other USG agencies in providing technical expertise.
Key take away points include the importance and critical need to see the role of education in combination with other sectors; this includes working with health, economic growth, agriculture, and post-conflict development, among others. Additionally, while the agency has come a long way from a narrow definition of basic education; there are still areas that need to be developed further. Finally, close partnerships with other USG agencies and social sectors will help foster the presence and need for education in all areas of human development.