Inter-Country Quality Node on Secondary Education (ICQN-SE)


The establishment of the ICQN-SE was triggered by the Mastercard Foundation Report on Secondary Education in Africa: Preparing youth for the future of work. The report revealed that many secondary school aged youths in Sub-Saharan African countries do not transit through the education system to the world of work in a linear manner. Cited in this report are various challenges including late entry, repetition, and dropout encountered by these school aged youth in many of these countries. When they reach secondary school level, they encounter economic disadvantages, which often exert enormous pressure on them, consequently compelling them to exit the education system to search for work and to provide for their families. Young people in some Sub-Saharan African countries are adversely affected by calamitous situations such as conflict and climate change, resulting in their education being interrupted as they must leave school to seek refuge elsewhere or new livelihoods.

In view of these challenges, the Mastercard Foundation Report made recommendations to re-envision secondary education for the future and calls for among others, the intervention of the private sector and the harnessing of educational technology to help secondary education to be more adaptive and responsive to the needs of the youth. The Inter-Country Quality Node on Secondary Education (ICQN-SE) was therefore, established in 2019 by the Association for the development of Education in Africa (ADEA).

The ICQN-SE is hosted and led by Botswana through the Ministry of Basic Education. The ICQN’s main mandate is to facilitate the implementation of the recommendations drawn from the MasterCard Foundation’s Report on Secondary Education in Africa. The ICQN in collaboration with ADEA - is responsible for the overall coordination of the secondary education activities in Africa. This particular ICQN is an inter-governmental forum for policy dialogue and collaborative actions by bringing together African Ministers of Education and strategic partners to advance the secondary education agenda in the African continent.

Added value

ICQN-SE support countries in implementing the recommendations drawn from the report on secondary education in Africa and acts as a catalyst in the process of accumulating secondary education experiences, bringing together representatives of Education Ministries for advancing the secondary education agenda in Africa, through networking, dialoguing and sharing of challenges and solutions.


Empowering African countries to reform their Secondary Education systems to respond to the countries emergent needs and to contribute to the continent’s socioeconomic and sustainable development.


To act as a catalyst for African countries and strategic partners by promoting dialogue, collective learning and policy advocacy to enhancing the delivery of quality secondary education in Africa.


  • Building countries coalition to overcome key challenges in secondary education.
  • Capacity building for policy, planning, management, coordination and delivery of quality secondary education.
  • Strengthening quality assurance and standards systems in order to improve quality secondary education.
  • Bringing together African Education Ministries to share experience, knowledge, and innovative solutions on secondary education.
  • Ensuring the implementation of the recommendations drawn from the MasterCard Foundation’s Report on Secondary Education in Africa.


  • Action plan for 2020/21 developed which is the guiding document for the activities taking place
  • Constitution of a country level steering committee to increase visibility of ICQNs Peace Education (PE), Higher Education and Scientific Research (HESR), Mathematics and Science Education (MSE), Early Childhood Development (ECD), Technical and Vocational Skills Development (TVSD) and Non-Formal Education (NFE)
  • Developed a concept note in preparation for the official launch of the ICQN SE that took place on 9 March 2021
  • Drafting and Finalized the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between ADEA and the Ministry of Basic Education through the Office of the Legal Advisor
  • Contributed to the finalization of a Comparative Study of the Status of the School Teachers’ preparation and teachers’ career paths for pre-primary, primary and secondary schools; in Botswana, Kenya and Rwanda
  • Conducted a desk review report on Secondary Education
  • Mapping of the ICQN-SE member countries; so far we have 9 countries which have acceded to our request of joining the ICQN-SE; with a target of having at least 10 countries
  • Organised a high-level meeting, steered by the Minister of Education of Botswana, to review the inception report for the development of the Five-Year strategic framework by the consultants
  • Facilitated the adhesion of Botswana to join the ICQN TL (Teaching and Learning).

Work perspectives

  • Continue facilitating the consultants on the development of the ICQN-SE Five-Year Strategic Framework;
  • Continue reaching out to countries to join the ICQN-SE;
  • Support ADEA in the piloting of the Remote Education Benchmarking Toolkit (REBK)development
  • Development of the ICQN-SE Five-Year Strategic Framework and validation
  • Mobilize and conduct regular communication with the country level Steering Committee to participate in ADEA activities;
  • Provide knowledge, research findings, evidence, blog to the ADEA Knowledge Hub;
  • Conduct a regional technical forum to share experience, knowledge harnessed from the knowledge platform with ICQN Members;
  • Support ICQN-SE member countries in the implementation of the Recommendations of the Report on Secondary Education by Mastercard Foundation.

Member countries

  • Botswana (Host country)
  • Kenya (2021)
  • Lesotho (2021)
  • Eswatini (2021)
  • Mauritius (2021)
  • Mozambique (2021)
  • Tunisia (2021)
  • Saharawi (2021)
  • South Africa (2021)
  • Uganda (2021)

Host Institution

Ministry of Basic Education (MOBE), Botswana


ICQN Coordinator
+267 74760077