UNESCO-China project boosting ICT in teacher training in Africa
The Phase I conclusion and Phase II Launch Meeting on the UNESCO—China-Funds-in-Trust (CFIT) project “Harnessing Technology for Quality Teacher Training in Africa” took place in Paris from 29 to 31 March 2017. The meeting was attended by Ministry of Education and teacher training institutions representatives of 10 CFIT countries, the Permanent Delegations to UNESCO and National Commissions for UNESCO from Zambia and China, external evaluators, and UNESCO staff at Headquarters and field offices.
The meeting addressed the achievements and lessons learned in Phase I in eight project countries: Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Liberia, Namibia, Tanzania, and Uganda. The second phase of the project was also launched at the meeting, with two new countries, Togo and Zambia, joining the venture thanks to an amendment agreement on an extension of additional two years signed between the Chinese government and UNESCO. The gathering took place after the final external evaluation of the Phase I of CFIT project. The result of the external evaluation was also presented at the meeting.
At the opening, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Education Qian Tang thanked the support of the Chinese Government to this project. He stated that in the first phase of the project, over 100 training workshops were organized and the capacity of approximately 10,000 educators were strengthened. In addition, over 230 teacher training modules and policy documents were revised or developed, and have been institutionalized. Over 2,400 pieces of equipment has been purchased and installed, and seven online teaching and learning platforms and three digital libraries have been established, linking over 30 teacher-training institutions. Participants also found the activities very relevant and useful. Mr Tang also recognized the UNESCO-CFIT approach is making a significant contribution to the implementation of SDG 4 on inclusive and equitable quality education, and SDG 9 on innovation.
H.E. Mr. Yang Shen, Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of the People’s Republic of China to UNESCO, highlighted that Priority Africa is at the core of UNESCO’s contribution to achieving Education Agenda 2030, and China fully endorses UNESCO’s strategy to provide a sustainable development path to an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa. “China is an unwavering supporter of UNESCO and its Priorities Africa and Gender Equality,” he said. “China also highlights support for Africa development in its robust and comprehensive cooperative relationship with UNESCO.” Ambassador Shen also recognized that the CFIT project is a good start for the long path China and UNESCO are going to travel together in partnership for quality education for sustainable development.
As the contributing factors for achievements, participants pointed to the strong ownership of the project development and implementation by the beneficiary countries. These include the high engagement of the relevant ministries and institutions from the beginning of the project, and the alignment with country priorities and the global SDG. In general, the project was relevant to the global agenda, the UNESCO priorities, and the national contexts.
In 2012, an agreement establishing an eight million USD funds-in-trust was signed between UNESCO and the Government of China to support educational development in Africa over four years, with a special focus on quality teachers. Following the positive results of the evaluation of Phase I of the project, the Chinese Government provided additional funding of four million USD to extend the project for two more years, increasing the number of beneficiary countries to 10.
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