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AU Comprehensive Approach for Education in Africa Unveiled

Photo By African Union
African Union

The African Union has outlined its educational program for 2024 amid a biting shortage of 17 million teachers in Africa.

Mohamed Belhocine, the AU commissioner for Education, Science, Technology, and Innovation, said that despite the global crises facing the world, the continental body would dedicate itself in 2024 to seeking solutions to education poverty in Africa.

“The teaching profession is not given more attention. People are no longer choosing the teaching profession because it is perceived as losing the prestige it previously enjoyed. This has become a global problem,” Belhocine said at a briefing in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, Friday evening.

The African Union is currently holding its Executive Council, which comprises foreign ministers and their counterparts in charge of various dockets under discussion at a mid-year coordination summit set for July 15-16 in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya.

The AU official said the global community has agreed to relegate the Russian-Ukraine conflict, the debt crisis, and the global financial crisis in favor of education.

The UN held its summit on transforming education, a parallel summit that took place on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in 2022 to discuss transforming education in Africa.

Belhocine disclosed that the AU will be holding another side event this year during the UN General Assembly, to talk about transforming education in Africa.

The summit will attempt to seek solutions to challenges such as the declining quality of science teaching, Belhocine said, noting the declaration of the year 2024 as the theme year was not enough but the starting point. “We intend to galvanize all energies to move the education agenda,” Bolhocine told reporters.

The AU is working on an educational roadmap for its 2024 theme and has identified the 10 priority areas reforming the teaching profession as top priority areas, which will define its theme for the year 2024.

The roadmap is focused on reading and education fit for the 21 century, building a resilient education system relevant to quality and learning in Africa, said the AU official, noting the theme of the year would be an opportunity to advocate for the quality of education.

A technical education partnership has also been created along with partners interested in education.

The theme of education would also focus on addressing the enrolment rate in schools across Africa which is rising. The picture becomes dramatically different with the declining number of teachers or those joining the teaching profession.

“The depth of the education problem in Africa is quite deep. To get (a) 100 percent enrolment and transition rate, we need 17 million teachers. We have a long journey to go. It means the children going to school are too many for one teacher,” the AU commissioner said, stressing that the continental body would focus on teaching reform, focusing on transforming education through comprehensive teacher programs.

The African leaders also agree on the need to decolonize the teaching of African history so that it tells the African story in an elaborate manner other than glorifying colonial supremacy over Africa.

“We shall decolonize the teaching of history in Africa to ensure that the old colonial way of teaching history is not continued. It is important that we re-own the teaching of history,” Bolhocine said.

The AU will also place its attention on the level of the technical, vocational education and training (TVET) programs, to ensure learners who fail to achieve higher educational scores also have a chance to prosper.

According to Belhocine, the AU is also focused on ensuring that technical training institutions provide courses that are suitable for the demands of the market.

The AU will also focus on digitization to equip teachers with the digital skills to mentor the children through teaching, Bolhocine said. Enditem

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