UNESCO CATEGORY II CENTRES OF EXCELLENCE
Category II Centres under the auspices of UNESCO are established and funded by Member States to contribute to the achievement of UNESCO’s objectives by way of global, regional, sub-regional or interregional activities.
They are not legally a part of the Organization, but are associated with it through formal agreements between UNESCO and the Member State hosting the centre. The centres are intended to serve as international or regional centres and poles of expertise or excellence to provide technical assistance and services to Member States, cooperation partners and also to the network of UNESCO field offices.
UNESCO Category II Centres of Excellence are special regional arrangements which enable the Organization to place at the disposal of the host country, UNESCO’s global network of expertise and resources in furtherance of the aims/objectives of the Centre.
Ghana currently has two (2) Category II Centres to its advantage: the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences, Ghana (AIMS-Ghana) and the Institute for Educational Planning and Administration (IEPA) of the University of Cape Coast.
In May 2018, Ghana signed an agreement with UNESCO to host a UNESCO Centre of Excellence in mathematical and allied sciences under the auspices of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences, Ghana (AIMS-GHANA).
The AIMS Next Einstein Initiative (AIMS-NEI) of the NEI Foundation (UK) is a Pan-African network of Centres for postgraduate training, research and public engagement. The Centres currently exist in six African Countries – Cameroun, Ghana, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania. The Centres seek to harness Africa’s brightest young minds to become independent thinkers, problem-solvers and innovators capable of propelling Africa’s future.
The Centre’s agreement was signed on Tuesday, 15 May 2018 in Paris, France between the Minister for Education, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh and the Director-General of UNESCO, Madam Audrey Azoulay. The Centre, which is earmarked to sit at the pinnacle of Ghana’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education Strategy will contribute in particular to teacher training at all levels of the education system as well as provide cutting-edge research in the STEM fields within the context of Sustainable Development Goal 4 and the Education 2030 Agenda.
By the signing of the UNESCO/Government of Ghana agreement, AIMS-Ghana (founded by the late Prof. F.K.A Allotey) becomes the first AIMS-NEI Centre in Africa to be recognized by UNESCO as a regional hub for the implementation of UNESCO extra-budgetary resource activities in mathematical and allied sciences education and research in the Africa Region.
At the 207th Session of the UNESCO Executive Board (held in October 2019), the Session, in its Decision 207 EX/15.I, recommended to the 40th Session of the UNESCO General Conference the approval for the Institute of Educational Planning and Administration (IEPA) of the University of Cape Coast to be designated as a UNESCO Category II Centre of Excellence.
In November 2019, the 40th General Conference of UNESCO passed a resolution designating the IEPA as a UNESCO Category II Centre of Excellence. Arrangements are being made for the signing of the Agreement with UNESCO.
The IEPA has maintained the role of lead institute for developing educational planners, leaders and administrators and providing technical and professional support to Ghana’s education sector and envisage this bring this expertise to the African region. The Institute therefore seeks to become a Centre of Excellence in this endeavor to support systems of education in Member States.
The IEPA, under the Category II status, would specifically, engage in research, capacity building as well as support sector-wide policy development and planning in education and thereby promote innovation and development within the sub-region.