Ministerial SDG4 Regional Forum for Eastern Africa on “Ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”
Over 150 participants, including Ministers of Education and their representatives, partners from international organizations and civil society, agreed on regional priorities and recommendations for inter-country cooperation to advance the 2030 Education Agenda in the region and leave no one behind.
15-16 February 2017, Dar es Salaam, United Republic of Tanzania – The Ministry of Education of Tanzania, UNESCO and the SDG4 co-conveners (UNDP, UNFPA, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNWOMEN and ILO) organized the Ministerial SDG4 Regional Forum for Eastern Africa as a follow-up to national consultations held under the leadership of the Ministries of Education in 13 countries (Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda). The forum was an opportunity for countries to share their national SDG4 roadmaps with their policy priorities in support to national education strategic plans.
Recognizing the importance of the 2030 Education Agenda in transforming education and society, the Honourable Professor Joyce Ndalichako, Minister of Education of the United Republic of Tanzania, emphasized in her keynote address the importance of high-level government support as well as support from the international and local communities, “The successful implementation of SDG4 depends on political will and support […] Tanzania is ready to engage in achieving the targets of SDG4.” It is likely however, that much more than political will and support will be required to achieve SDG 4 across the region by 2030. According to Ms Ann-Therese Ndong-Jatta, Director of the UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa, “It is not about what we have done; it is about what we have not done and what we have not done very well.” She also emphasized the need to make extraordinary efforts “so that by 2030 we do not have to question the quality of education but celebrate the progress”.
Over the two-day forum, participants discussed common emerging areas, innovative practices and themes of relevance to the region for further collaboration. Based on countries’ national roadmaps and discussions of thematic areas at the forum, a call for greater policy coherence in a number of areas emerged:
i) Out-of-school children and youth, especially girls, and the need for pre-emptive strategic planning to combat the multiple barriers to education and ensuring no one is left behind;
ii) Further development of early childhood development and education given its vital role in building foundations for further learning;
iii) Technical and vocational education and training (TVET) including the need for a regional framework and sharing of good practices to improve quality of instruction, learners’ skills, and status of TVET qualifications and certification in general;
iv) Strengthening of teacher professionalization through training and incentive schemes;
v) Development of learning assessment frameworks that use effective methodologies to provide evidence where teaching and learning needs to improve;
vi) The need for accurate and reliable statistics and education indicators through the development of effective monitoring and evaluation frameworks for evidence-based policy-making.
Other key priorities areas discussed to fulfill the objective of leaving no one behind include Education in Emergencies, Global Citizenship Education, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and innovation in education, and partnerships/financing education. The High Commissioner of Canada to the United Republic of Tanzania, Mr. Alexandre Lévêque, addressing the Ministers and the participants in the closing session, emphasized the opportunity, through this new education agenda, of building new partnerships for mutual support to move forward.
The priority areas agreed through both the national and regional consultation process in Eastern Africa are the basis of a regional statement discussed at the forum to translate the global agenda into a regional roadmap for inter and intra-country partnership and cooperation.
<- Back to: UNESCO Office in Nairobi