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“Probing and thinking critically is what will make Africa a continent of the 21st century... inculcating skills at an early age is the key, says Shem Bodo, Senior Programs Officer with the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA).
Bodo made the statement on the 30th of September 2016 in Nairobi (Kenya) at the closing ceremony of a two-week Third Country Training Programme (TCTP) on “Use of inquiry-based learning and peer lesson evaluation to improve quality of teaching and learning of mathematics and science.”
More than 40 primary teacher educators from Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, and Zambia successfully completed the training, each receiving a certificate. With funding from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Centre for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education in Africa (CEMASTEA) organized the training under the auspices of the ADEA Inter-Country Quality Node on Mathematics and Science Education (ICQN-MSE), supported by the Kenya Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.
Reading a speech on behalf of the ADEA Executive Secretary, Oley Dibba-Wadda, Bodo observed that “ADEA formally recognises TCTP through the ICQN-MSE, as an initiative of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology of Kenya, with CEMASTEA as the implementing institution”. He further acknowledged Kenya’s strong support to ADEA, not only as the champion country for two ICQNs (Mathematics and Science Education, and Peace Education), but also as one of “ADEA’s Big 5” and a permanent member of the Association. He underscored ADEA’s appreciation of the key role played by JICA and CEMASTEA in putting Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) at the centre of the transformation of Africa’s education and training system, pointing out that this is the reason why the ADEA 2017 Triennale in Morocco has dedicated the 2nd sub-theme of the main theme (Revitalizing education towards the 2030 Global Agenda and Africa’s Agenda 2063) to the promotion of Science, Mathematics and ICT, under the coordination of the ICQN-MSE.
The Senior Assistant Director in the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Grace Ngacha, the Director of CEMASTEA, Stephen Njoroge, and the Senor Representative of JICA Kenya office, Kazohiro Tambara were also present at the closing ceremony and made key remarks.
Africa's path towards the "Continent of the 21st Century" pre-supposes – among other actions – robust policies and strategies for effective and efficient STEM implementation that promotes the production of high-end professionals needed to manage resources and add value to products and services in Africa.
In September 2015, the international community adopted the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and its Goal no. 4 on “ensuring inclusive and quality education for all and promoting lifelong learning” is the main reference for all institutions and people involved in the education and training sector. With regards to Africa, the continent vision for the next 50 years has been broadly captured by the African Union in its Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want. The strategic document calls for a “revolution of education, skills and active promotion of science, technology, research and innovation in order to strengthen knowledge, human resources, capacities and peoples’ abilities for the African century”.
To this end, teacher development, quality teaching and STEM, as highlighted by the Continental Education Strategy for Africa for 2016-2015, are three fundamental areas to be enhanced for a bright future of the continent’s education. This is where the Third Country Training Programme (TCTP) comes in, as it aims at improving the quality of science and mathematics education in African countries.
The programme began in 2004 and JICA has been supporting it since 2014 due to its successful implementation and the quality training that CEMASTEA has continued to offer (including an average of 120 participants annually from 17 African countries). To this end, CEMASTEA came up with new training content for four years (2016-2019) targeting mathematics and science educators from African countries actively involved in “Teacher Continuous Professional Development” activities.
CEMASTEA adopted two strategies to identify the training needs:
This was followed by the teasing of the topics arising from the identified training needs, with some covering general pedagogical issues and others focusing on Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Science. The topics were then categorized into thematic areas to constitute trainings for various years, ranging from 2016 to 2019. They will be enriched on a yearly basis to incorporate emerging areas.