BRICS education ministers discuss knowledge exchanges


Strengthening collaboration between BRICS universities, partnerships and knowledge exchanges formed part of the issues discussed at a meeting of the BRICS Education ministers.

Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande hosted the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) meeting in Paris, France, on Tuesday, on the margins of the 37th session of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) General Conference.

The meeting was convened by South Africa as the current chair of the BRICS grouping, with Nzimande being supported at the meeting by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga and senior officials from both departments.

“Issues such as strengthening collaboration between BRICS universities, partnerships and knowledge exchanges on technical vocational education and training, portability and transferability of qualifications between BRICS countries were highlighted as important for the cooperation,” said the department in statement on Wednesday.

The first meeting of the BRICS Ministers of Education sought to underscore the strategic importance of cooperation in education between the BRICS countries, and the need to highlight this at the next BRICS Summit.

“The Ministers underscored the importance of collaboration with UNESCO in order to accelerate progress towards the achievements of the Education for All (EFA) goals, and also shape discussions on the post 2015 agenda.

“It was further agreed that Technical Vocational Education and Training should feature strongly on the post 2015 EFA goals,” the department said.

A meeting with the UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova took place on Wednesday, and agreed that BRICS and UNESCO should work together to assist the least developed countries towards the attainment of global education targets.

Amongst the issues which were highlighted for cooperation are the strengthening of data collection systems within BRICS, cooperation and sharing of best practices on Technical Vocational Education and Training.

It was further proposed that BRICS and UNESCO should investigate how ICT can be used effectively to improve the quality of learning outcomes.

The ministers agreed on the need to establish a mechanism at the highest political and technical level in order to coordinate and implement the identified areas of cooperation which will be coordinated by South Africa as the current Chair of BRICS.

The second meeting of BRICS Education Ministers will be held at the next BRICS Summit of heads of state in 2014.