In March 2017 the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) led a three-day event in which it explored key aspects of current African education progress and future developments. The Triennale focused on how the African education system would need to re-orientate its current educational delivery to meet two overall combined objectives; United Nations Programme and Framework of Action for the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 4 on education and the African Union Agenda 2063 Continental Education Strategy regarding the re-alignment of Africa’s education and training system with its future vision. The events four themes were the revitalisation of education in Africa and the associated challenges, building a strong pan-African identity, building a continent of peace and human rights.
The Broader “How” general synthesis paper, when addressing towards enhanced quality education and lifelong learning for all, makes reference to the quality of curriculum content and a 2012 Triennale recommendation stating, “Africa should have a fundamental rethink of education in Africa, introduce paradigm shifts, design curricula that are anchored in local reality, as well as be more sensitive to local educational needs in order to change the uncomplimentary impressions that the globalised world has of Africa and Africans.” There is also a clear acknowledgement that this shift will face challenges of general adoption and implementation by African stakeholders and proposes an implementation roadmap.
Interestingly UNESCO, in a document called Developing and Implementing Curriculum Frameworks, states, “In many countries, the national curriculum consists of a set of content items, most commonly knowledge and information, which is prescribed by a central authority. This authority expects the prescribed content to be taught and learned by all students, in all schools, often in the same prescribed sequence and at a prescribed pace. This traditional model has been challenged with increasing intensity over recent decades”.
It can be argued whether the current system and curriculum content was ever fully effective or indeed inclusive as it favoured some and excluded others, but clearly it was also a key contributor to a wide range of technological and sociological advances.
Times have and will continue to change. I firmly believe that from a curriculum design perspective, as well as from a sociological, economical, ethical and inclusive perspective, that there is an urgent need for more flexibility in curriculum design, delivery, global cohesion and transferability to facilitate the removal of barriers and provide wider access to individuals.
In its concluding comments, the synthesis paper writes, “The education sector, more than any other, must now be responsive to the social and economic development needs of the various countries that have failed to meet the Education for All (EFA) and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the 2016 deadline”.
This is a significant opportunity and collective responsibility for all.
Shepperson & Shepperson Consultants LTD
Lesley Shepperson /email@example.com/www.zongonews.com