(AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK) - The Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) yesterday concluded its annual policy dialogue on secondary education in Africa: Preparing youth for the future of work. In partnership with the African Development Bank, the Department for Basic Education of South Africa (DBE), and the Mastercard Foundation, the dialogue reached a consensus that it was critical to reform secondary education in Africa by enhancing the teaching profession, quality learning and 21st century skills provision, and by embracing innovation and information and communication technology (ICT).
Opened by Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa, the dialogue brought together education ministers from across Africa to discuss how to design and transform education systems within secondary education to better prepare African youth for the changing nature of work. President Ramaphosa said, “Africa’s demographic dividend can only be earned through our investment in the continent’s highest-yielding resource: its young people.” He added that “secondary education empowers young people at a time when they are most hopeful, experimental and flexible in their lives, and we should embrace this life stage as one to empower young people to take charge of their lives and our collective future.”
The Mastercard Foundation’s report Secondary Education in Africa: Preparing Youth for the Future of Work is the foundation’s latest collaborative effort between multiple donors, partners, and research organisations including a key partnership with ADEA. The report, to be released in early 2020, focuses on the role of secondary education in ensuring that youth acquire the skills, knowledge, and competencies necessary to succeed in a dynamic and globalised labour market.
Angelina Matsie Motshekga, minister for Basic Education, South Africa, commented: “The discussions of the last two days will go a long way towards an integrated regional and continental approach to modernizing our post-primary opportunities and outcomes. This, we owe to our children. Let me thank ADEA for acting as a lever of change and for elevating the voice of Africa on education priorities at regional, continental, and global levels.”
Albert Nsengiyumva, executive secretary of ADEA commented: “African countries need to reform secondary education starting from attracting strong applicants in the teaching profession, and training and retraining adequate numbers of teachers, as well as providing work skills for young people to increase their adaptability and resilience.” He also highlighted the importance of innovative financing mechanisms for sustainability, and giving more priority to technical, vocational and educational training (TVET) as well as science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and ICT by strengthening public-private partnerships (PPPs).
Kim Kerr, director of regional programs at the Mastercard Foundation, added: “The objective of the Mastercard Foundation’s report on secondary education is to initiate a dialogue on the importance of meeting increased demand for secondary education, and the urgency of preparing Africa’s youth to succeed in an ever-changing work environment. We are grateful to ADEA and the Department for Basic Education of South Africa for bringing together such a dynamic group of stakeholders to work towards ensuring that Africa benefits from the opportunity and the potential of its growing youth demographic”.
The event also provided the opportunity for African ministers of education and key stakeholders to be informed about the recent workshop to establish the African Education Fund (AEF), “the unique African mechanism to address the challenges of education and skills development in Africa” according to Hendrina Chalwe Doroba, manager of the education and skills development division of the African Development Bank.
Secondary Education in Africa: Preparing Youth for the Future of Work will be released in 2020. Meanwhile, background papers covering a range of topics relevant to secondary education in Africa can be accessed at: https://mastercardfdn.org/secondary-education-in-africa/.
The Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) is a forum for policy dialogue. It is a partnership bringing together African policymakers in charge of education, science and technology; development cooperation partners; researchers and education technical experts. ADEA contributes to the empowerment of African countries to develop quality education and training systems that respond to the countries' emergent needs and drive social and economic transformation sustainably.