African countries and education stakeholders recommit to reform education in Africa; EU to invest over €‎1.5bn towards vocational skills development and teacher training

Abidjan – 27th October 2022: Education stakeholders joined African Ministers of Education and Training at the ADEA 2022 Triennale to reaffirm their commitment to reform education systems on the continent following the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. During this flagship event, the European Union pledged over €‎1.5bn to support education development in Africa, a basis for its renewed partnership with the continent. The African Union (AU) also called for better alignment between Africa's education systems and the industry needs to ensure that market-relevant skills are taught in learning institutions. These were some of the outcomes at the Triennale on Education and Training in Africa, organized by the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) and hosted by Mauritius' Ministry of Education, Tertiary Education, Science and Technology, in Pointe aux Piments, Mauritius, between the 19th and 21st of October 2022. 

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the learning landscape on the continent and kept millions of school-age children out of classrooms. This worsened a bad situation and denied learning opportunities to more children. It equally underscored the need for proactive planning for a crisis. With this in mind, African Ministers of Education and Training, representatives from leading Pan-African institutions and development partners restated their commitment and support to ensure Africa surmounts identified learning challenges, especially at the foundational level, technical and vocational skills development (TVSD), higher education and scientific research. 

In her welcome remarks, the Chairperson of the AU Bureau of the Specialized Technical Committee on Education, Science, Technology and Innovation (AU STC-ESTI) and the Ugandan Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, Hon. Dr Monica Musenero, argued that Africa must leverage the post-COVID-19 opportunity to take charge and redesign its learning system to ensure it is fit for purpose and produce skilled persons that are aligned to market's needs. According to her, ​

"We need to look at the head and the tail and take advantage of the situation of COVID-19 to design a new system that will address our specific needs and those of our people. Hence, I call on all persons here to rededicate themselves to growing a new system that addresses our challenges. Africa must think; we must stop delegating thinking."

While welcoming participants and declaring the Triennale open, the Vice Prime Minister of Mauritius and the Minister of Education, Tertiary Education, Science and Technology, Hon. Leela Devi Dookun Luchoomun, urged participants to leverage the opportunity to hold open and frank conversations to help reimagine the education system in Africa. She argued that until Africa's youth and children receive a quality education as a right, countries will have failed to prepare them to address modern-day challenges. She remarked,​ 

"I agree with Dr Monica when she said that we need to hold open and frank conversations that will help us seize this opportunity to reimagine and redesign our education system in Africa. It is thus incumbent upon us to ensure that all our children and youths access education as an inalienable right. Only then can they be better prepared to deal with the challenges of living in the 21st century."

Earlier in her solidarity message, the European Union Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, said the EU would be driving critical investments in teacher training, vocational education and skills development in Africa.

'We are developing a €100m regional teacher training program. It incorporates the latest digital innovations in teaching. I intend to launch this initiative in Africa in January 2023. We are investing €500m in vocational education and skills development. We are contributing €970m to transform higher education and mobility opportunities,' Ms Jutta announced.

The Triennale featured 12 break-out sessions and 14 partner side events discussing the four sub-themes (impact of covid-19 on education systems, foundational learning, TVSD, and higher education and scientific research) and the three cross-cutting themes (tackling the data challenge, digitalization and education, and improving access and equity for vulnerable groups). The leading pan-African institutions and development partners included the Africa Union (AU), AUDA – NEPAD, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), UNESCO, NUFFIC, BMZ/GIZ, MasterCard Foundation, USAID, LEGO Foundation and World Bank. 

One of the event's highlights was the launch of the first of a three-part Spotlight report on foundational learning in Africa, tagged 'Born to Learn'. The research was published by the Global Education Monitoring (GEM) team at UNESCO in partnership with ADEA and the African Union. The report paints a grim picture that reiterates the need for more vigorous efforts to improve foundational learning.

A Ministerial Declaration and a report are expected in the coming weeks. The declaration will outline the resolutions of the 12 Ministers of Education at the conference and the roadmap for translating commitments made at the Transforming Education Summit in New York and affirmed at the Triennale, resulting in solutions that inform policies and programmes. The report will inform the development of ADEA's Strategic Plan for the next five years. 

This year's Triennale was delivered in a hybrid format, with 350 participants joining physically and more than 500 virtually and driving critical conversations on how to build resilience within the education sector and respond to emergencies like COVID-19. 

 

About the Triennale 

The ADEA Triennale on education is one of Africa's seminal, high-level forums for political dialogue, peer learning and sharing knowledge on fruitful experiences. It focuses on critical themes that can transform Africa's educational systems for sustainable social and economic development. triennale.adeanet.org

About ADEA 

The Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) is a critical voice and a forum for policy dialogue on education in Africa. It is hosted by the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire. ADEA envisions a "high-quality African education and training geared towards the promotion of critical skills for accelerated and sustainable development in Africa". ADEA serves as an "open and flexible pan-African organization that informs and facilitates the transformation of education and training that will accelerate sustainable development in Africa." The anticipated impact of ADEA's work is that African countries are empowered to develop education and training systems that respond to their current and emergent needs and sustainably drive Africa's social and economic transformation. www.adeanet.org

About the Ministry of Education, Tertiary Education, Science and Technology

The Ministry of Education in Mauritius is creating the next generation of forward-looking and innovative leaders. It contributes to the transformation of the Republic of Mauritius into a high-ranking, prosperous nation. The Ministry also establishes an enabling environment for a higher education system that generates and equips learners with innovative, cutting-edge knowledge and in-depth skills for

increased competence in a dynamic work environment. education.govmu.org

 

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