SADC Ministers of Education and Training met on September 19, 2013 at the Joaquim Chissano International Conference Centre, Maputo, Mozambique to review progress in the implementation of their previous decisions. They also committed to implement programmes within the framework of SADC Protocol on Education and Training, and the Second Decade of Education for Africa. The Ministers also approved the regional instruments to monitor implementation of the regional commitment in education and training as part of operationalising the Education Management Information Systems (EMIS) as well as address Gender and Culture issues affecting the provision of education were. Ministers also committed to working collectively to address Teacher Development, access to Higher Education and benchmarking against the Regional Qualifications Framework to ensure comparability and portability of qualifications across the region.
They were appraised on the SADC Open and Distance Learning Project which is supported by the African Development Bank and noted that it developed instruments that provide policy direction as well as enhance the capacity of Member States to deliver Open and Distance Learning.The meeting endorsed bids by the Republic of Zimbabwe and the Republic of Mauritius to host the UNESCO Multi-Sectoral Office in Southern Africa and to host the Pan African University Space Science hub respectively. Once operational, the Pan African University Space Science institute will benefit the SADC Region as a whole.
Ministers noted that:
- All SADC Member States had developed relevant policies and strategies necessary to deliver Education and Training services with special emphasis on children and youth, who constitute over 76% of the population of SADC.
- Access to Early Childhood Care, Development and Education (ECCDE) is rather low, and that regional norms and standards will be developed to provide guidance to Member States in this area.
- Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) is a major priority for the SADC Region. In particular, TVET provides an opportunity to equip and empower many of the Region’s youth with knowledge and skills that can enable them to be competitive in the labour market as well as engage in entrepreneurial business enterprises.
The meeting was officially opened by the Deputy Minister of Education, Science and Technology of the Republic of Malawi, Hon. Chikumbutso Hiwa, in his capacity as the Chairperson of SADC. It was attended by Ministers and Deputy Ministers from SADC Member States, The African Union Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology, representatives from United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), International Labour Organisation (ILO) and other development partners.
Minister Hiwa reminded delegates that the meeting is part of the fulfillment of the SADC Regional Integration and Development Agenda, whose primary focus is to promote equitable and sustainable economic growth, alleviate poverty and ensure the wellbeing of the majority of the population, as well as establish peace and security of the Region.
He commended Development Partners for their continued support and emphasized that implementation of the regional education agenda would not be possible without their contribution.The delegates were welcomed by Hon. Augusto Jone Luis, Ministers of Education of the Republic of Mozambique who reassured them of the support of the Government of Mozambique and the region’s commitment to the education sector.