Leading stakeholders in African education made a bold statement in Kigali, Rwanda this month when they pledged to actively develop a new education agenda to help shape the future of the continent.
The Sub-Saharan Regional Education Conference organised by UNESCO from 9-11 February in Rwanda’s capital, which brought together education leaders, including Education International (EI), emphasised the importance of ongoing demands for equitable, inclusive and quality basic education, for all girls and boys, as well as the impact of the quality of teachers on learning outcomes and the need for comprehensive teacher policies and teacher qualifications frameworks.
EI voices main concerns of teachers
Dennis Sinyolo, EI Senior Coordinator, strongly urged the professionalisation of teachers and teaching through the recruitment of professionally trained and qualified teachers across the region; improvement of educators’ salaries and conditions of service and the adequate support systems for teachers and school leaders.
Voicing EI’s position on a panel dealing with education for sustainable development and global citizenship education, Sinyolo defended a humanistic vision of education promoting the spirit of Ubuntu (a South African philosophy based on values, ethics and positive attitudes).
“We should foster in our young people three key dimensions of respect”, he stressed. “Respect for one self, respect for others and respect for the planet”. He went on to explain that the current obsession of many governments and international players with testing undermines education for sustainable development and global citizenship education.
The strong EI delegation took the floor throughout the conference and engaged with their ministers of Education.
Ten members of the delegation, including Marieme Sakho Dansokho who represents EI on the Global partnership for Education (GPE) Board, met with the board’s Chair Julia Gillard to discuss the critical role of teachers in ensuring quality education for all, along with the need of the GPE to ensure that teacher issues continue to be a priority and that teachers and their unions participate in the making of education policy through the Local Education Groups.
Post-2015 strategy workshop
Prior to the conference, representatives of teacher organisations affiliated with EI from 10 African countries took part in an advocacy strategy development workshop aimed at facilitating the strategic involvement of teachers and their organisations in the post-2015 process.
The workshop’s participants developed draft advocacy action plans to guide their engagement with their governments leading up to the adoption of the new global development agenda at the UN General Assembly in September.