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By Dr. Harriet Sakala, FAWEZA Alumni

From the Executive

Aïcha Bah Diallo to head Guinea education ministry

Friday, 16 January 2009

Ms Aïcha Bah Diallo, Vice-Chairperson of the FAWE Executive Committee, has been named Minister of Pre-University, Technical, Professional and Civic Education of Guinea.

Currently advisor to the Director General of UNESCO, Ms Bah Diallo has vast experience in the education sector, having worked to influence governments, multilateral and bilateral organisations to look at education systems in a holistic and systemic way in order to increase access to all levels of education for girls and women.

Between 1996 and 2005, Ms Bah Diallo held various positions at UNESCO. She served as Director for Basic Education, Deputy Assistant Director General for Education, and acting Assistant Director General for Education. During that time, she pioneered the lowering of barriers to education for girls, particularly in Africa and the Least Developed Countries.

Ms Bah Diallo was appointed Minister of Education of Guinea in 1989, a position she held for seven years. She implemented a successful education reform programme, redeploying nearly one third of the country’s teachers from urban to rural areas, as well as from administration to teaching and from secondary to primary schools.

During her time in office, the number of girls enrolled in school in Guinea grew from 113,000 to 233,000. Both private and public schools in Guinea are named after her.

Ms Bah Diallo played a guiding role in the formation of FAWE in 1992 as well as the formation of the Association for Strengthening Higher Education for Women in Africa (ASHEWA) in 2005

In a statement upon her election to the FAWE Executive Committee in July 2008, Ms Bah Diallo said, ‘Among all the obstacles that impede the path of girls to learning is gender violence: explicit gender violence such as sexual harassment, intimidation, abuse, assault and rape, and implicit gender violence such as corporal punishment, bullying, verbal and psychological abuse. We must fight against all these forms of violence inside and outside the classroom.’

She pledged to work towards a better understanding of the issue of gender violence and towards the promotion of women in leadership in education.

Ms Bah Diallo has received distinctions of high merit from France and Ivory Coast and is a member of the Prize Committee of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation chaired by Mr Kofi Annan.

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