02.07.2018 - UNESCO Office in Harare

SADC Ministers adopt far reaching recommendations on education and training, science, technology and innovation

Delegates at the meeting © SADC

The joint meeting of Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Ministers responsible for Education and Training (ET), and Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) held in Durban, South Africa from 18-22 June, adopted several far reaching recommendations in UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa’s (ROSA) priority areas of teachers, technical and vocational education and training (TVET), higher education, STI policy systems and governance strategies for sustainable development and science, technology engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.

The Ministers agreed to prioritise the standardisation of a Regional Framework on Professional Teaching Standards and Competencies. Ministers commended the Regional Task Team for fulfilling its mandate of developing the Draft Framework for Teacher Professional Standards and Competencies (SADC/ET-STI/2018/14), as a working document. In addition, the Ministers acknowledged great strides made in TVET and approved the Revised SADC Technical and Vocational Education and Training Strategic Framework 2018-2027 (SADC/ET-STI/1/2018/16) which aims to scale up financial, infrastructure and human resource investments for TVET to support industrialisation in the region. The meeting also called upon Member States to ratify the Addis Convention on the Recognition of Studies, Certificates, Diplomas, Degrees and Other Academic Qualifications in Higher Education in African States.

The Ministers endorsed the UNESCO-led campaign against early and unintended pregnancies (EUP) that was launched at the meeting and commended UNESCO for promoting comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) in the region.

In sciences, the meeting acknowledged regional scoping studies on SADC Engineering Needs and Numbers (SADC/ET-STI/1/2018/5A) and Regional Energy Assessment and Foresight Study (SADC/ET-STI/1/2018/9A) and admitted that the gaps in technical and engineering professionals and energy deficit challenges were negatively affecting economic development and growth within the region.   The Ministers adopted the reports and roadmaps (Decision 9) and urged UNESCO to extend its regional renewable energy programme to other countries in the region and to collaborate with the SADC Secretariat in the implementation of the UNESCO renewable energy programme in schools and communities; and to provide technical support in the finalisation of the SADC engineering needs and numbers as the basis for developing capacity in required engineering disciplines to accelerate the region’s industrialisation and the skills for the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) (Decision 4).

The Ministers also approved the terms of reference of the Regional Reference Group on STI Indicators, a three-year programme of activities and urged UNESCO (Decision 11) to continue to provide technical assistance to the working group in the review and implementation of national STI polices and governance strategies to respond to African Union Agenda 2063, Agenda 2030, SADC Revised Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP)2020 and the SADC Industrialisation Strategy 2015-2063 (SADC/ET-STI/1/2018/11A). 

In recognition of the need to enhance gender equality and promote and retain women and girls in STEM careers, the Ministers adopted and signed the SADC Charter on Establishing Regional Women in Science and Engineering Organisation (SADC/ET-STI/1/2018/12) at an elaborate ceremony in which nine Ministers of Science and Technology signed the Charter for immediate implementation.

The Ministers  commended UNESCO’s pioneering role in its positive capacity building and training efforts with SADC Parliamentarians and Senior Officials in STI  policy, legislation and governance to contribute to the agreed one percent of GDP to STI in countries in the region (SADC/ET-STI/1/2018/13) and urged UNESCO and collaborators  to extend the training to Ministers and multi-stakeholders to ensure priority is given to STI policy implementation and domestication of the Protocol on STI and to motivate for increased budget allocation for STI implementation and the achievements of the SDGs (Decision 14).

SADC Ministers noted with thanks UNESCO’s partnership with the Government of Botswana in the high level capacity building on bioethics and the framework for establishment of a Bioethics Centre in the region in 2017. They also commended UNESCO and the Government of Namibia for co-hosting in November 2017, the regional Africa capacity building and training of ministers, parliamentarians, academics, senior officials and the private sector in Gender responsive STI policy design/review, implementation and monitoring and evaluation to accelerate AU STISA 2014 and the global SDG agenda.

The Ministers unanimously commended the UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa for the technical and financial support rendered to the SADC Secretariat and individual countries in the implementation of the Decisions taken at the joint meeting of Ministers held in June 2017 and urged UNESCO to provide the same support for the decisions of the 2018 meeting.

For more information, please contact c.medel-anonuevo(at)unesco.org or p.oti-boateng(at)unesco.org. 

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