African Ministers of Education, Science and Technology call for awareness raising and resource mobilization to strengthen E-S-T in the Continent

aucThe first meeting of the Specialized Technical Committee on Education, Science and Technology STC-EST was held from the 27th to the 30th of October 2015, at the AU Commission Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The four-day meeting, which brought together senior education, science and technology officials, Ministers and development partners, was characterized by experts’ and partners’ sessions, a Pan- African Conference on Teacher Development and a TVET exhibition. It culminated in the Meeting of Ministers on Friday, 30th October, when it finally wrapped up.

Addressing the Meeting of Ministers, H.E. Dr. Martial De-Paul Ikounga, Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology, underlined the merger of the mutually complementing sectors of Education, Science, Technology, as decided by the Heads of State and Government and that this would strengthen the amalgamation of the three sectors to deliver on Agenda 2063. He underscored the need to mobilize domestic resources for the sustainability and ownership of sectorial programmes.

H.E. Mrs. Youssouf Hadidja Alim, Minister of Basic Education of the Republic of Cameroon and COMEDAF VI Chair, remarked that the transition to STCs is an opportunity for renewal, self-reliance, enhancing ownership, providing domestic resources and lessening over-dependence on external funding. She added that the continent needed to educate, train and equip African citizens to effectively participate in the development of the continent and achieve the collective objectives of Agenda 2063.

The Meeting of Ministers featured a keynote presentation by Calestous Juma, Professor of the Practice of International Development at the Belfer Centre for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Professor Juma observed that Africa’s Agenda 2063 provides an ideal framework for embarking on long-term institutional reforms that will help to reposition the continent as a strategic player in the global economy. Achieving this goal, he said, will require reforms to align education, research and innovation with long-term socio-economic objectives. Professor Juma noted that the STC on Education, Science and Technology is well-positioned to play a leading role of fostering the needed reforms to improve the integration of education, research and innovation for a knowledge-based and technology-driven economy.

Another key feature of the first STC-EST was the awarding of top ten TVET programmes in Africa. Forty centres across the continent had applied for the coveted award – twenty were selected and ten were awarded. The Ministers elected the Bureau of STC-EST 1, comprising Ministries in charge of Education, Science and Technology from Members States. Egypt was elected as the Chair, Nigeria as 1st Vice Chair, South Sudan as 2nd Vice Chair, Cameroon as 3rd Vice Chair and Botswana as Rapporteur. The Ministers considered and adopted the various reports presented by the parallel sessions on education, science and technology, TVET and the Pan African Conference on Teacher Development. They called on Member States, the AU Commission, RECs, Civil Society, the Private Sector and Development Partners to work together in popularizing and raising awareness on the programmes expounded during the STC-EST, and in mobilizing resources for their effective implementation.