Key stakeholders from all African Countries at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Regional Meeting of African National Commission, 2022 called for the need to foster collaborative efforts to ensure effective transformation of education on the continent.
According to the various countries’ representatives, almost every country on the continent is doing quite well in one particular area based on certain policy initiatives and mechanisms put in place; hence, the need for collaboration to tap into the best practices of one another to hasten growth and development of education.
Commissioner for Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, African Union Commission (AUC), Mohamed Belhocine, in a remark read on his behalf by the Principal Scientific Officer of the AUC, Dr. Monica Ebele Idinoba, indicated that every citizen in Africa deserves a better life, and until all countries unite and ensure collaborative efforts to create the big picture wanted for the continent, Africa will continue to remain behind in terms of global competitiveness.
“Recalling that about 46 percent of Africa’s labour force from 2015 to 2063 will constitute young people under 34 years who will need access to basic secondary and tertiary level skills that will unlock their potential for innovation, effectiveness, entrepreneurship, employment, and making them become responsible citizens, we need to make higher education more accessible.
“A key priority of the agenda 2063, is therefore, to build human capacity through the prioritisation of higher education, skills development, investment in science, research and innovation,” he said.
He added further that the AU Agenda 2063 is keenly ongoing and effects are needed in terms of harmonisation, building synergy, and filling in the gaps. Reiterating continental education strategy for Africa (CESA), science and innovation strategy for Africa (SISA), and continental strategy for technical vocational education and training (CSTVET) as the key policies being championed in the education sector.
Minister of Education Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum, on his part, emphasised that indeed the world all over is in the era of the fourth industrial revolution (4IR), and education is the key to unlocking opportunities and taking advantage of opportunities to compete in the global space.
“If we can tune our mind and accept that change is possible, then we can achieve that. The future of the children of Africa depends on us, and if we are not able to transform the current education system to promote 21st-century skills acquisition, then it is our fault and not that of the children.
“We need to collaborate, exchange ideas and see how best to learn from one another to transform the education space to help our children who are ready to learn, develop their raw talents and become key players in the transformation of our continent,” he stressed.
Assistant Director-General for Priority, Africa and External Relations, UNESCO, Firmin Edouard Matoko, urged the over 50 countries’ representatives gathered at the conference to take advantage of the platform offered by UNESCO to think about how best to transform the education sector to encourage skills development, innovation and creativity.