ADEA’s Triennale Regional consultation for West Africa reiterates the need to invest in STEM

After the first regional consultation meeting in Gabon in May 2016 on the fourth Triennale sub-theme “promoting peace and global citizenship through education”, Senegal hosted the next consultation meeting for the West African region on “promoting science, mathematics and information and communication technology” from 13th to 14th June 2016 in Dakar, the capital of the “land of Teranga”. This consultation on the second sub-theme of the Triennale was organized under the auspices of the dynamic Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research and brought together education experts from Burkina-Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Nigeria and Senegal. The Centre for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education in Africa (CEMASTEA) facilitated the discussions, together with the General Coordinator for the Triennale, Mr. Mamadou Ndoye, in preparation for the upcoming ADEA Triennale scheduled from 15th to 17th March 2017, in Marrakesh, the Kingdom of Morocco.

This meeting bears testimony to the importance accorded to science, mathematics and information technology and also to the need to offer these disciplines a predominant position in Africa’s education and training landscape. 

The West African regional consultation provided the opportunity to the participants to share lessons learned, good practices and successful innovations in Africa and elsewhere in order to address the challenges identified and to be able to “recreate”, in specific contexts, conditions and factors aimed at a successful implementation with a focus on developing African knowledge-based economies and societies.

The Secretary General of the Conference of Ministers of Education of French-speaking countries (CONFEMEN), Mr. Jacques Boureima Ki, welcomed the meeting with such an important theme for Africa.

“Science, Mathematics and Information Technology are drivers of development. In this domain, Africa is confronted with issues such as the lack of teachers, learning methods and students’ enthusiasm to learn these disciplines”, he declared.

The Minister for Higher Education and Scientific Research of Senegal, H.E. Mary Teuw Niane who chaired the opening ceremony commended such an initiative which is “perfectly consistent with Senegal’s policy to develop the scientific disciplines”. Since 2013, Senegal has held national dialogues on the future of higher education that also touched on the development of science and technology. According to him, this implies the development of human resources, the research environment and the organisation of governance leading to the implementation of these decisions.

“At the social level, there is a policy of affirmative actions for students pursuing science and technical subjects at high school level”, he announced.

According to H.E. Mr. Mamadou Talla, Minister of Vocational Training, Learning and Craftsmanship of Senegal, “Africa rising cannot be contemplated without quality human resources and the mastery of science. An effective economic, technical, scientific, and vocationally-oriented system of education will enable the continent to establish a knowledge-based society focused on good governance practices that promote democratization of education and inclusion of all. The ownership of technological progress contributes to eradicating poverty”, he declared during the closing ceremony.

On the sidelines of the Dakar regional consultation, the ADEA Executive Secretary, Ms. Oley Dibba Wadda, met H.E. Mr. Macky Sall, the President of the Republic of Senegal and Chairperson of the Committee of Ten Champion African Heads of State on Education, Science and Technology. The discussions focused on issues relating to the next ADEA Triennale and the mobilization of African countries for this major forum on education and training in Africa.

“ADEA came out of this audience with a very strong commitment by the Head of State; a commitment which will be demonstrated by President Macky Sall facilitating the mobilization of the other 9 Champion Heads of State and the promotion of the 2017 Triennale at African level”, declared Ms. Dibba-Wadda to the media.