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In the lead-up to the 2017 Triennale of the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA), the Kingdom of Morocco hosted the third regional consultation for the North Africa region on July 13-14 in Rabat.
The consultation meeting was part of the framework of preparations for the 2017 Triennale, after regional consultations for Central and West Africa were held respectively on May 30-31 in Gabon and on June 13-14 in Dakar, Senegal.
The Gabon meeting centered on Sub-theme No. 4 of the Triennale relating to the promotion of peace and world citizenship through education, while the Dakar meeting focused on Sub-theme No. 2, namely the promotion of science, mathematics, and ICT in education to succeed in undertaking the structural transformation of Africa and in building knowledge-based African economies and societies.
The Rabat consultation – organized under the leadership of Morocco’s Ministry of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Training in close collaboration with the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), the African Development Bank Group (AfDB), and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) – was attended by experts from Kenya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia, and, like the Dakar meeting, focused on Sub-theme No. 2 of the Triennale.
The Rabat meeting was chaired by Lahcen Daoudi, Morocco’s Minister of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Training, who, in his opening remarks, underscored the urgency for African countries to bridge the existing gap between Africa and other countries of the world in the areas of science, mathematics, and technology. Daoudi also drew the attention of participants to the need for Africa to take into account the dimension of the integration of mother tongues in the teaching of science and mathematics because developing the objectives of the 2030 Global Agenda as well as those relating to Africa’s Agenda 2063 depend on the capacity of the African continent to benefit from its linguistic heritage. Lastly, Daoudi recalled that ADEA’s choice to host the 2017 Triennale in the Kingdom of Morocco is appropriate because the Al Quaraouiyine University in Fez, built in 859 during the reign of the Iddrisside dynasty, is today considered the oldest university still in activity in the world, which witnessed the emergence of the greatest Arab philosophers such as Averroes (Ibn Rochd), Avempace (Ibn Baja), or Ibn Khaldoun.
In his welcome remark, Najib Rhiati, Supervisor with ISESCO HQs, recalled the importance for the various education stakeholders to work together. Rhiati underscored that the conclusions and recommendations of the conference will enable ISESCO to readjust its activities, from an institutional perspective, through the conference of Ministers of Education of the Islamic world.
Meanwhile, Leila Jaffor, education specialist with the African Development Bank Office in Morocco, highlighted the importance which AfDB gives to the promotion of science, mathematics, and technologies as shown by the US $900 million (2010-2016) assistance provided to African countries aimed at improving higher education, science and technology in Africa, as well as developing youths’ skills in the areas of science, technologies and innovation.
Speaking on behalf of ADEA Executive Secretary Oley Dibba-Wadda, Ramata Almamy Mbaye, ADEA Senior External Relations and Strategic Partnership Officer, reiterated that ADEA regional consultation for the North Africa region is the first major meeting organized in Morocco prior to the Triennale, scheduled for Marrakech on March 15-17, 2017. She said the combination of invaluable efforts provided by the Moroccan authorities and the ADEA’s strategic partners including AfDB, ISESCO, JICA, and the Education Ministries of invited countries, were indications of a high-level Triennale, which also demonstrate the level of ownership by the countries of the Marrakech event.
According to Mamadou Ndoye, General Coordinator of the 2017 Triennale, there are transition periods in the history of humanity that offer exceptional opportunities, which no one can afford to miss as such Africa’s youthful population that is considered a demographic dividend.
According to Grace Orado, the science expert representing the sub-theme coordinator from ADEA’s Inter-Country Quality Node on Mathematics and Sciences Education (ICQN-MSE),this regional consultation offered not only a platform to all participants for sharing lessons learnt, good practices, and successful innovations in Africa and elsewhere, it also explored strategies for addressing the challenges identified and being able to “re-create,” within specific contexts, the conditions and factors for building successful knowledge-based African economies and societies.
The Secretary-General of the Ministry of Higher Education, Scientific Research, and the Training of Morocco chaired the closing ceremony and commended the success of this joint collaboration with ADEA, which the Kingdom of Morocco hopes would endure and be sustained.
Atsushi Matachi, on behalf of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), highlighted the importance of this platform of knowledge and experience sharing that ADEA provides to education stakeholders, and in that perspective, JICA has contributed in sharing the experience of the scientific and social culture Japan has so far promoted in over 25 African countries to boost the capacities of children and youth in science, mathematics and ICT.
Skander Ghenia, the Director-General of the Computer and Electronic Administration Department of the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Tunisia, and also in his capacity as the representative of participants, opened his message congratulating ADEA for the spirit of collaboration that gives so much hope for the success of the 2017 Triennale.
In closing, Najib Rhiati, as representative of ISESCO’s Director-General, also warmly thanked ADEA for the consistency of its contribution to the development of Africa through education and training.
The Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) is a forum for policy dialogue, composed of all the 54 Ministers of Education in Africa. Established in 1988 at the instigation of the World Bank Group, it has evolved into a pan-African institution based within the African Development Bank Group (AfDB). ADEA’s work has expanded to focus more on the development of skills and competencies across all the education sub-sectors. It envisions a “high-quality African education and training system that is geared towards the promotion of critical knowledge and skills for accelerated and sustainable development in Africa”.