» Cooperation between UNESCO and ECOWAS: Towards a Reform of Certifications Frameworks in West Africa?
06.07.2018 - UNESCO Office in Dakar

Cooperation between UNESCO and ECOWAS: Towards a Reform of Certifications Frameworks in West Africa?


UNESCO and the ECOWAS Commission organized a regional workshop on capacity building in ECOWAS countries for the reform of qualifications systems, held in Dakar on 27 and 28 June 2018. Relevant actors pertaining to certification issuance from the fifteen ECOWAS countries were invited. The Senegal, Benin and Togo Ministers in charge of Technical Education and Vocational Training (ETFP) attended the meeting, as well as other representatives from several international organizations and projects related to the sector.

The objective of the meeting was to highlight the progress made in the reform of qualifications systems in the sub-region, but also to examine the key elements of appropriate regional cooperation, encouraging the development of qualifications systems and the recognition of skills and qualifications within the countries of the region.

This important initiative is part of the global movement on the need for regional qualifications framework (RCF) based on existing national qualifications frameworks (NQF) and based on learning outcomes. Ultimately, this should lead to the reform and expansion of education and training provision, in a context of recognition and enhancement of non-formal and informal learning.

The need to establish a regional qualifications framework (RQF) in ECOWAS countries is the result of a combination of several factors, including globalization, increased mobility with the regionalization of spaces, the competitiveness of the labor market and technological advances.

In addition, Regional Qualifications Frameworks (RQF) contribute to the achievement of the sustainable development goals (SDG) of Agenda 2030 in the sense that they involve acquiring professional skills for decent work.

Given the demographic, economic and social challenges of the ECOWAS region, cooperation in the field of education and training is a priority. Hence the organization, in 2002, of a Conference in Dakar on this question. This new initiative will therefore strengthen, integrate and harmonize qualifications frameworks to enable economic and social development as defined in the ECOWAS 2020 vision and Continental Strategy for Education in Africa (CESA 2016-2025).

The workshop was able to draw lessons from different international and continental experiences, notably through the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) and the SADC National Qualifications Frameworks (NQFs) in Southern Africa.

In addition, the meeting provided an opportunity to share experiences and knowledge from different stakeholders from the education and training, employment, private, certification and quality assurance sectors. Thus, several panels were held on the status of national certification frameworks (NCF) in ECOWAS countries.

The various participants also identified the obstacles to the implementation of the 2013 recommendation adopted by the 15 ECOWAS ministers, which aimed at making national qualifications frameworks (NQF) operational at the national level.

Finally, this first workshop, which was the first activity of the initiative, was welcomed by the ministers present and by all the participants. In particular, they renewed their commitment to the construction of viable and operational qualifications frameworks (CNC) in their respective countries. Now is the time to implement the roadmap that was adopted for this purpose by all ministers at the ministerial round table held the day after the workshop at the Ministry of Vocational Training, Learning and Handicrafts (MFPAA) of Senegal.

For further information, please contact co.pieume@unesco.org

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