ADEA spurs the promotion of literacy transnational programs and the use of Arabic characters in West Africa through its ICQN-LNL

During 2016, the Inter Country Quality Node on Literacy and National Languages (ICQN-LNL) carried out two leading activities, with financial and technical support from the Secretariat of the Association for Development of Education in Africa (ADEA). These activities are two regional workshops whose objectives are in a perfect congruence with the objective n.2 of the ADEA’s Strategic Plan, that is, "Promoting African solutions to national and regional needs in education and training".

The latest workshop was held in Dakar, Senegal, from 26th to 28th September 2016 under the theme: "Using Arabic characters aligned to boost access and equity; the upgrading of Koranic schools as a strategy for accelerating and improving the literacy and training offer". 

The workshop was attended by the focal points of the Inter-Country Quality Node members from Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo; experts from Burkina Faso and Mauritania, International Institutions and NGO partners representatives such as Islamic Organisation for Education, Sciences and Culture (ISESCO), the Foundation for Community Development (FDC -BF), and many education experts from the public administration of Senegal.

The ICQN requested the support of Franco-Arab teaching experts to help achieving the objectives of the workshop. This arrangement has effectively enabled the focal points of member countries to appropriate the strategy of integration of religious schools or homes in the formal education system of the country and commit to promote the use of harmonized Arabic characters in Koranic schools, in line with academic standards and in a vision of the peace culture and social cohesion.

The workshop also helped to lay the foundations for a dynamic partnership between the Inter-Country Quality Node on Literacy and National Languages and ISESCO.

Moreover, the opportunity was given to participants to propose boosting strategies for effective contribution to the success of the 2017 Triennale and the ADEA as a whole.

The main recommendations were made to the attention of member countries and ISESCO, and include: (i) Measures to ensure the funding of ICQN-LNL activities; (ii) Payment of annual contributions of countries to ADEA; (iii) Provision of users in member countries with software suitable for writing language in harmonized Arab characters, and any related documentation; (iv) Capacity building of member countries trainers.

Finally, the focal points in member countries are committed to:

  • Lead advocacy actions for a better visibility of ADEA and ICQN-LNL and for more substantial support of member countries;
  • Identify national demand for harmonized Arabic characters;
  • Capitalise on national and regional successful experiences in using harmonized Arabic characters;
  • Promote the initiative to open at least five (05) classes using harmonized Arabic characters during the 2016/2017 year (in countries covered by the ISESCO program) and scaling up in the quality Node space.

The first workshop instead was held from 10th to 12th  March 2016 in Lome, Republic of Togo, under the theme: "Promoting Literacy Transnational Programs: case of Literacy / Training of nomadic  populations and Education Centres for integration".

This workshop brought together Inter-Country Quality Node focal points and experts from Benin, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Chad and Togo. ADEA Secretariat representatives and several international institutions also actively participated in the event: the UNESCO Institute for Education throughout life (UNESCO-UIL) based in Hamburg, Germany; the Foundation KARANTA, based in Bamako, Mali; the Regional Centre for Education and Literacy in Africa (CREAA) based in Lome, Togo; the ADEA Working Group for Non-Formal Education (WGNFE) based in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso; NGOs for Development and Breeders Associations; members of the Regional Education Programme for mobile Pastoralists (PREPP), among them.

The said workshop had short and medium-term main objectives of: (i) Bringing the country to own and promote innovative literacy programs that promote inter-country cooperation and sub-regional integration; (ii) Mobilising nomadic populations and people living on the borders, around the values of education / training, inter-community and sub-regional integration; (iii) Improving access to quality basic education for nomadic populations with a particular emphasis on women and vulnerable people; (iv) Supporting all ongoing active consultations for better communities education provision, particularly in cross-border areas, through integrating socio-educational spaces that make the borders among African countries, "joint" and not breaking points.

The work was crowned by the preparation of a "statement" which highlights the need for member countries to: (i) Participate in the deliberations of the Inter-Country Quality Node Regional Steering Committee  (ii) Formalize the appointments of the coordinator of the ICQN and the national focal points; (iii) Support the scaling up of the two models, namely the education model of nomadic pastoralists and the Education Centres for Integration; particularly through integration of funding such models into national planning and advocacy at the inter-African institutions: the African Union (AU), the Economic and Monetary Union of West Africa (UEMOA), the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS), etc.; (iv) Codify and harmonize the languages used by the forms of learning in border areas; (v) Develop inter-state and partner institutions synergies in resource mobilisation, advocacy and implementation of activities.

For focal points to: (i) Restore the conclusions and recommendations of the workshop to the authorities of the Member States of the ICQN; (ii) Monitor the implementation concerning the workshop’s recommendations; (iii) Contribute to developing a manual of procedures for ICQN-LNL.

For ADEA Secretariat to: (i) Implementation of an inter-country communication plan to support the implementation process of ICQN-LNL activities; (ii) Advocacy for the dissemination of experiences and resource mobilisation; (iii) Promote the model of Education Centres for Integration (CEI) and the PREPP presenting them as best practices in the ADEA 2017 Triennale and other fora.

At technical and financial partnership level to: (i) support the implementation of quality node activities and mobilise financial resources for this purpose.

The Inter-Country Quality Node is pleased to know that several countries - including: Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Niger and Senegal - have all endorsed the idea of ​​the geographical extension of the model of Education Centres for Integration (CEI) and a study has being finalised by the PREPP to strengthen the education model for nomadic pastoralists.