Division of Education

Preamble/introduction

Over the years, the Education sector of the Department of Education, Science & Culture, continues to hinge on the priority areas adopted by the ECOWAS Conference of Ministers in charge of general Education during Ministerial Meetings beginning with the First edition in 2002; Second in 2004; Third in 2009; Fourth in 2012; and the inaugural session of the Meeting of ECOWAS Ministers in charge of Higher Education and Scientific Research in 2014. Other avenues and considerations for the identification of ECOWAS Education Programs include: Focus areas at the continental level such as of the Second Decade of Education for Africa (2006-2015) which took cognizance of the Millennium Development and Education for All Goals; the African Union Continental Strategy for Education (2016-2025) which was developed within the framework of African Agenda 2063.

These Regional and Continental priorities are in consonance with the ECOWAS Protocol on Education and Training, the ECOWAS Convention on Equivalence of Certificates and the ECOWAS vision 2020.

In view of the above, the priority Programs/activities under the Education Sector have been synthesized as follows: (i)Promotion of School Health and HIV/AIDS Preventive education, (ii) Popularization of the teaching of Science and Technology, (iii) Promotion of Technical and Vocational Education and Training and Teacher Training (TVET), (iv)Promotion of e-learning, (v) Promotion of Gender and Culture, (vi) Education Management Information Systems (EMIS), (vii) Teacher Development, (viii) Tertiary Education, (ix) Technical and Vocational Education and Training, including education in difficult situations, (x) Curriculum, and Teaching and Learning Materials, (xi) Quality in all its ramifications, (xii) Promotion of Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD), (xiii) Establishment of Equivalence of Certificates.

Objectives

Objectifs related to previous priorities are:

  1. To provide qualitative Education and training for all citizens of the community;
  2. To implement the provisions of the ECOWAS protocol on education and the recognition of Equivalencies of Certificates;
  3. To strengthen cooperation with ECOWAS strategic partners;
  4. To Implement the Plan of Action for the Second Decade of Education in Africa;
  5. To translate the priority programs adopted by the Conference of Ministers of Education into action;
  6. Millennium Development Goals (MDG).

Programmes/Activities

The priorities are:

  • ECOWAS Nnamdi AZIKIWE Academic Mobility Scheme {ENAAMS}
  • Mutual Recognition of Certificates and Harmonization of Education Systems
  • Promotion of e E-learning
  • Promotion of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET); and Entrepreneurship.
  • Education Management Information System (EMIS)
  • Higher Education and Teacher Development, and
  • School Health

Framework documents/policies and Legal Justification

  • The ECOWAS Revised Treaty Chapter XIV, Article relating to Cooperation in the areas of human resources, social and cultural Affairs;
  • Protocol A/P1/7/87, Articles 6 and 7 relating to Education and Training and to Scientific and Technical Research respectively;
  • Decision A/DEC.3/01/03, Protocol relating to Education and Training;
  • 4/01/03, General Convention on Equivalence of Certificates;
  • Decision A/DEC.3:01/03 adopting the ECOWAS protocol on Education and Training;
  • Decision A/DEC.4:01/03 relating to the adoption of the Convention on recognition and equivalence of degrees;
  • Recommendations of the Conferences of ECOWAS Ministers of General Education;
  • Regulation on the recommendations of the inaugural meeting of Ministers in charge of Higher Education and Scientific Research
  • Obligations towards bilateral and multilateral Agreements with strategic partners (AUC, AAU, UNESCO, UNICEF, WAEC, COL, ADAE, ADB, etc.)

Expected Results

The expected results are indicated below.

  • It is expected that when all the programs and activities are properly articulated and implemented, the quality of Education in the Region will be raised to fit International/Regional best practices comparative to what’s obtain in the World Vis avis quality Education.
  • Teacher professionalism and morale will be promoted to a large extent; the retention of serving teachers; quality output of teachers, mobility of teachers within the Region will improve; commitment of Governments and ultimately achievements will also improve.
  • Stake actors on the Education sector will be abreast of the status of the challenges to effective access, retention and completion at the basic education level; and be equipped to implement recommendations arising from previous consultations. They will also be exposed to the modules of the ECOWAS reference Manual on Education for the Culture of Peace in the Region and implement them accordingly. Additionally they will be informed on the ECOWAS EMIS Norms and Standards for use as guide for self-assessment of data procedures within the school systems, and the Utilization of the ECOWAS EMIS Norms and Standards to obtain credible Education data in a sustainable way.
  • The survey on TVET will improve status of TVET among policy makers, TVET providers / practitioners and employers. Outcome of the survey will also form the basis for the development of National and Regional TVET strategies; National and Regional Qualifications Framework and improved status of TVET in Member States accordingly.
  • Set benchmarks/criteria for the establishment of equivalences of Degrees, Diplomas, Certificates and other Qualifications within the ECOWAS Region.

Status of implementation

Promotion of Higher Education -ECOWAS Nnamdi Azikiwe Academic Mobility Scheme (ENAAMS)

In order to promote access to education and by so doing produce high level personnel that can act creatively on the environment and engage in withy inventions that can solve the multi-faceted problems of the Community, the ECOWAS Academic Mobility Scheme was instituted beginning from the 2015/2016 academic year. The Scheme has been designed to cater for three categories of beneficiaries namely: Scholarship offers to 50 Student at Masters Level; Scholarships to 25 Students at PhD level; and Exchange programs for 13 Lecturers across the region. In order to also promote integration, successful scholarship awardees were assigned to institutions outside their respective countries and language blocs.

After due consultation among specialized experts in the region, the Mobility Scheme has also been designed to focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM); Earth and Life Sciences including Environment and Climate Change; Health (Medical, Veterinary and Health Sciences); Agriculture; History of Africa and; Information Communication Technology which were considered to be of strategic importance to the Region.

 

Equivalence of Certificates

Following the adoption of the ECOWAS Convention on the Recognition and Equivalence of Degrees, Diplomas, Certificates and other qualifications in 2003 as annex to the Protocol on Education and Training, a number of steps such as the inauguration of the Ad-hoc Committee in 2005, conduct of a feasibility study for the Convention in 2010; and series of consultations and validation meetings on the outcome of the study between 2010 and 2015. A major milestone was the development of regional benchmarks for the establishment of certificate equivalencies and ultimately; for the harmonization of education systems in the course of 2015. In Particular, the experts developed the benchmarks along the lines of Bachelors, Masters and PhDs and agreed on a broad framework for definition of terms or nomenclatures that will facilitate certificate equivalences and harmonization of education systems in the region.

Harmonization of Basic Education and Literacy

In the course of 2015 also, the Department expressed the need to prepare a status report on basic education in the region with a view to harmonizing education at that level in the region. Through internal consultation, areas of harmonization were identified namely: administrative structure, duration, curriculum content as well as evaluation procedure. In that regard, a meeting of a technical group of resource persons was planned but could not be executed due to logistical challenges. It is anticipated that the regional report that would be prepared, would be used to develop a mechanism for the harmonization of at least 9 years of basic education in the ECOWAS region. It is also hoped that the mechanism would be used for advocacy and as reference document for Member States.

Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET)

Survey was concluded in 10 countries and the country reports consisting of two components general and Technical reports are available and these reports will form the basis for the development of an ECOWAS Regional strategy on TVET in 2016. The premeditated issues for the revitalization of TVET in the region regarding access, quality, relevance, sustainability, curriculum and learning materials, articulation of TVET with the rest of Education systems; and harmonization of TVET policies will be holistically covered.

In addition, series of capacity building sessions were held in each country for over 1000 TVET personnel (teachers, curriculum developers, inspectors, advisors) on ICT, Entrepreneurship, Competency based approach, curriculum and instructional materials development.

Additionally, innovative TVET programs and projects that will promote employability of ECOWAS citizens leading to the revitalization of TVET in the ECOWAS region shall be attained.

Ministerial meeting on higher education and Scientific Research

The ECOWAS Education sector gains at the foundational and intermediate levels, which makes it imperative to focus on higher and tertiary education accordingly. The need to accord to the production of high level personnel that can sustain and improve on these gains and by so doing solve the multi-faceted problems of the Region in a more proactive, patriotic, sustainable and dogged manner like other countries of the world which catapulted from under development to technological advancement using the vehicles of education, training and scientific research, necessitated the meeting of experts that preceded the ministerial meeting on higher education in 2014. The meetings examined mainly; the different approaches and the way forward for the revitalization of Higher Education and Scientific Research in the ECOWAS Region; and the different ways/approaches and the way forward for enhancing the quality, number and morale of teachers in the Region.

The Minister’s came up with some concrete recommendations and conclusions geared towards addressing and advancing Higher Education in all ramifications in the Region, particularly on;

  1. Strengthening of existing centers of excellence currently under the auspices      of ECOWAS, PAU, UEMOA, and the World Bank with emphasis on      disciplines that meet the specific needs of research and development in the      region at Masters and PhD Levels one year from the date of the meeting.
  2. To establish a mechanism following up political decisions at Regional level, preferably appointment of a champion at the level of Heads of State.
  3. Appropriate regulatory agency where not in existence, should be established and adequately empowered to cater for professional standards, work ethics and discipline of teachers.
  4. Member States to improve primary and secondary education and significantly increase the resources allocated to higher education.

 

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