Regarded by the ministers as a historic meeting, the Triennale has laid the foundations for a complete recasting of African education systems

Ouagadougou, 20 February 2012. After five days of deliberations, the Prime Minister of Burkina Faso, the Honorable Luc Adolphe Tiao, officially closed the Triennale of the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) on Friday at the International Conference Center 2000 of Ouagadougou.

In the presence of African ministers, the Chair of the ADEA Steering Committee, Dzingai Mutumbuka, ADEA Chair of the ADEA Bureau of Ministers, the Honorable Sam Ongeri, and ADEA Executive Secretary Ahlin Byll-Cataria, the Prime Minister recalled the pledge given on Monday at the opening of the Triennale by President Blaise Compaoré to take a leading role in the follow-up to the results of the deliberations.

“In the words of the Head of State of Burkina Faso, approved by his peers attending the opening of our continental meeting, the conclusions of your deliberations will be not only implemented but evaluated before the next Triennale. To this end, he pledged to take up the banner and transmit the conclusions of the Triennale to the African Union so that a summit can examine them, adopt themand consider ways and means of implementing them”, he declared.

For the Burkina Prime Minister, in view of this major commitment that will probably bring significant progress in terms of high-level harmonization of reform measures in Africa, the Ouagadougou Triennale will be a turning point and will pave the way for a comprehensive overhaul of African education and training systems based on a shared vision of sustainable development in Africa, founded on education and training.

The Chair of ADEA, Mr. Mutumbuka, thanked the authorities of Burkina Faso for their warm welcome and the excellent working conditions provided, while also thanking the participants for the high quality of the debates over the Triennale theme, “Promoting critical knowledge, skillsand qualifications for the sustainable development of Africa: To design and implement aneffective response by education and training systems”.

“You were not merely present, you also contributed actively to the discussions to arrive at these results which raise great hopes for our continent”, said Mr. Mutumbuka.

Mr. Ongeri, Chair of the ADEA Bureau of Ministers and of the Conference of Ministers of Education of the African Union (COMEDAF), expressed his satisfaction with the historic import of the Triennale outcomes and called on all stakeholders at the meeting to participate actively in the follow-up.

“We, the African ministers present at this Triennale, must each transmit the results to our respective governments. We must make sure that these results become the business of our governments, by ensuring that they are discussed in councils of ministers and in national parliaments. In this way, even if we are no longer in the government tomorrow, we can be sure that the follow-up to the Triennale will continue without difficulty”, said the Kenyan Minister ofEducation, Science and Technology.

ADEA Executive Secretary Ahlin Byll-Cataria also noted the importance of post-Triennale mobilization in order to ensure rigorous follow-up of the Triennale results. In this respect, he announced that 60% of the ADEA Secretariat’s activities in 2012 would be devoted to following up the Ouagadougou Triennale.

“By the end of March, we will produce and submit to President Blaise Compaoré of Burkina Faso a report summarizing the results of our deliberations. The president will then be able to send it to his peers in Côte d’Ivoire, Mali and Niger and present it to the African Union summit scheduledfor July 2012”, explained Mr. Byll-Cataria.

He also announced that the Triennale outcomes would be disseminated widely through the ADEA website and a regular newsletter to be sent to all participants.

“The Steering Committee, the Secretariat, the working groups, the Triennale coordinators, and the regional economic communities will stay in Ouagadougou for two days after the Triennale to consider and discuss the follow-up to our deliberations. But I must say that the follow-up process is the business of all stakeholders: the Diaspora, youth, the private sector, governments, technical and financial partners, the Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE), the ADEA Secretariat, the working groups, the inter-country quality nodes, Korea and even the African media”, declared the Executive Secretary.

After five days of intense discussions, the participants at the Ouagadougou Triennale reached a broad-based consensus on a paradigm shift for education in Africa that will in particular involve close linkages between education and training.

The new paradigm also recognizes the key role played by science, vocational training, information and communication technology, and lifelong learning. It takes a holistic approach to education and training oriented toward sustainable development.

The participants at the Triennale also decided to establish a multilateral approach to education and training in Africa that truly takes account of stakeholders such as the private sector and youth.

The new paradigm defined in Ouagadougou calls for the development of a strong partnership between schools and business in order to ensure that young Africans receive training that matches the needs of national economies and prepares them for entry into social and economic life.

The participants also pointed to the need to include ethical values and governance as factors ofAfrica’s sustainable development, and the discussions at the Triennale highlighted the need for African education to focus on science and technology, communication and ICT.

During a special meeting held the day before the Triennale, the Diaspora, which was strongly represented during the debates, was recognized as a party that could contribute added value to education and training in Africa. In addition to remittances to home countries, the Diaspora was strongly encouraged to become involved in the development of science, technology and innovation in Africa through the transfer of skills.

The Korea-Africa Day, also organized just before the Triennale, was another highlight of the Triennale proceedings. Each in turn, representatives of the main Korean institutions of research,education and training explained, in the presence of Korea’s vice-minister of education, Sang-Jin Lee, the mainsprings of the trajectory that enabled Korea to rise from its level of development in the 1960s, which was equivalent to that of African countries today, to become one of the ten largest economies in the world today.

The Korean experience, featuring the contribution of education, training and research to sustainable development, gave much food for thought to participants in the plenary and parallel sessions.

Nearly 1,000 participants, including some 40 ministers of education, vocational training, youth and employment, took part in the ADEA Triennale, the preparatory process for which included many stakeholders, including the private sector, civil society and young people.

The Triennale was officially opened on Monday 13 February by the President of Burkina Faso, in the presence of his peers from Niger, Côte d’Ivoire and Mali.

Press contacts:

  • Emmanuel Lankoande, Director of Communication, MENA Burkina Faso. Tel: +226: 70 74 09 32, Email:
  • Aliou Goloko, press consultant,  Tel.: +226/ 77 85 80 73, Email:
  • Thanh-Hoa Desruelles, ADEA External Relations and Communication,, Tel.: +216/ 7110 3432 (office), +226/ 77 65 98 23 (cellular in Burkina Faso)