In line with the Sustainable Development Goal 4, UNESCO’s work in education is to ensure equitable and inclusive quality of education and lifelong learning for all by 2030. To achieve this, UNESCO is supporting governments in Eastern Africa Region to strengthen educational systems through strategic planning and policy development, as well as through capacity development interventions both at institutional and school levels.
UNESCO, in partnership with other EFA convenors, has been leading the dialogue of the post-2015 agenda through national and regional consultation process. In view of the World Education Forum, UNESCO supported member states in Eastern Africa to prepare assessments of the Dakar goals for EFA (2000-2015) highlighting the achievements made and challenges to be overcome through the post-2015 agenda. The results were shared at the Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Ministerial Conference on Education Post-2015 in Rwanda in February 2015 and also informed the debate of the new 2030 Education Agenda and Sustainable Development Goal 4.
UNESCO also focused its support to strengthen ministries capacities in education strategic planning and management, in particular to conduct sector analysis (Tanzania), review education plans (Comoros) and develop sector plans (South Sudan). Capacities of MoEs officials were also strengthened in partnership with the UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP) in Comoros, Rwanda and Somalia. In Kenya, technical support was also provided in strengthening education management information system (EMIS) through expertise and experience linked to UNESCO software for statistics (EDUCSTAT). In addition, UNESCO supported the mainstreaming of core priorities such as gender, in particular the revision of the gender in education policy in Kenya.
Teacher professionalization was also a core entry point of UNESCO support to ensure quality education for all. Teachers´ policy, frameworks and standards were developed for instance in Uganda and Rwanda. The quality of pre and in-service training programmes was enhanced through harmonized teacher training programmes and continuous professional development. Materials have been developed and trainings conducted in order to strengthen teachers’ capacity in child-centred methodologies and multi-grade teaching skills with a focus on reaching out of school children (Somalia). In order to address the perspective of gender-sensitive pedagogy in teacher training, an assessment on gender awareness in primary schools and an audit of gender-sensitive pedagogy in teacher education have been conducted in Uganda. UNESCO also addressed the gaps in teacher planning through supporting the establishment of the Teacher Management Information System (TMIS) in Uganda with the objective of automating the management of the teacher records at the national and regional level. Curriculum reform processes were also enhanced through the expertise of the UNESCO International Bureau of Education (IBE), with a focus on strengthening capacities of curriculum developers in competency-based curriculum (Kenya).
To further promote inclusive environments and societies, UNESCO advocated for the empowerment of learners by knowledge, skills and values. UNESCO has been countries in the region to sensitize young people on the principles of self-respect and respecting others as a civic duty for the peaceful co-existence and participation in the society. Manuals have been developed and training conducted focusing on the ´Learning to live together approach´ (Comoros, Kenya). In the framework of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and the Global Action Plan (GAP), support is also provided for ESD policy development (Kenya) and implementation at school level through innovative practices such as solar electrification for rural schools (Madagascar). Furthermore, under the auspices of Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) commitment on scaling up comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) and reproductive health services for adolescents and young people in the region, UNESCO’s support the strengthening of policy framework, advocacy and capacity development for the provision of CSE in Kenya, Rwanda and Kenya.
Innovation and inclusion in education were also supported through UNESCO technical assistance for the deployment of ICT in education initiatives. Support was provided in Djibouti, Kenya, Madagascar, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda and ranged from formulating policies and strategies, developing accessible (e.g. for persons with disabilities) and up to date curriculum and assessment, using ICT for pedagogical innovation, strengthening partnership for hardware and software deployment and training teachers on ICT integration.
Learning opportunities were provided through literacy and non-formal education, with a focus on youth and women. At policy level, UNESCO is supporting countries to conduct literacy assessment (Kenya) and develop policies and strategies (Rwanda) for adult education. Furthermore, national qualifications and curriculum Frameworks have been developed in Rwanda and Somalia. Learning opportunities were also provided to young out of school mother mothers through literacy and life skills programme in Tanzania. In Somalia and South Sudan, UNESCO supported twelve community learning centres through the provision of literacy teaching and learning materials for young people and women, as well as training on literacy and life skills. Pastoralist Education approach was also promoted in South Sudan to provide production resources, literacy, numeracy, and life skills to pastoralists in cattle camps. UNESCO also continued its advocacy role for functional literate environments through the celebration of the International Literacy Day in Kenya, Rwanda and Somalia.
UNESCO also promoted interventions focusing on youth skills for work and entrepreneurship. In Madagascar, UNESCO has been supporting literacy and technical training for reducing the vulnerability of young people. This intervention is considered as a successful model to be scaled up in the region focusing on leadership training in youth centres, the identification of promising sectors of business, the development of training standards, training young people and assisting their integrating in working life.
In the spirit of the One UN Delivering as One in Rwanda, UNESCO will be involved in four strategic areas through capacity development, advocacy, generation and dissemination of information and research:
- Sector Planning and Management
- HIV and AIDS
- Gender Equality
- Youth and Adult Literacy
- Quality and Relevance of Education