Since its introduction in 2016, the Continental Education Strategy for Africa (CESA 2016-2025) has witnessed some levels of visibility within and outside of the continent. Notably, many African organisations including the Association of African Universities, the International Network of Higher Education in Africa and organisers of the annual International Conferences on Quality Assurance in Higher Education in Africa, have taken steps to publicize the activities of the CESA, particularly as it pertains to higher education.
Nonetheless, it still appears that there is limited awareness of the strategy and how it can tangibly impact African education. This supposition, if found true, would suggest that promotion of the strategy going forward must be re-thought. As a result, a recent study has been carried out by Awaah, Okebukola, Shabani, Ajonbadi, Binzaka, and Muhinpundu,to establish the awareness levels of the strategy, in a bid to help the strides made by the different clusters; especially the higher education cluster of the strategy.Participants were selected and categorized under university faculty,other educational stakeholders, student, non-educational stakeholder and lecturers or teachers, representing the following countries: Algeria; Angola; Botswana; Burundi; Cameroon; Congo; Cote d’Ivoire; Djibouti; Egypt; Ethiopia; Ghana; Guinea-Bissau; Kenya; Liberia; Madagascar; Malawi; Mali; Mauritius; Nigeria; Rwanda; Somalia; Tanzania; Uganda; Zambia and Zimbabwe. By gender, the distributions were 68.16% male and 31.84% female while by location, Africans in Africa constituted 94.01% while Africans in diaspora constituted 5.99%.
Their study results showed that 66.67% of the participants were unaware of the CESA while only 33.33% were aware. It concludes that, a multi stakeholder intervention involving the African Union, African governments, partner organisations, researchers, web and media organisations, schools and indigenous interventions are necessary to foster awareness of CESA. To achieve this, the study recommends that,
- major continental initiatives such as Higher Education Summits should become platforms for an annual Continental Education Strategy for Africa Summit or conference, to enhance awareness, foster stakeholder participation and build upon existing resources and dialogues spaces;
- resources should be enhanced for research and dissemination of research outputs relative to the Continental Education Strategy for Africa;
- education-related continental students and youth organisations should be mandated to support the awareness efforts of the Continental Education Strategy for Africa;
- the Continental Education Strategy for Africa should be translated into major African languages to ensure grassroots understanding and awareness of the strategy;
- conscious efforts should be made to enhance the coherency of the visibility of the strategy: the logo of the Continental Education Strategy for Africa should be widely promoted and there should be a common communications plan;
- widespread community/ local based publicity, advocacy and sensitization on the Continental Education Strategy for Africa through local education-related Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) is needed;
- conscious efforts should be made to sponsor studies related to the Continental Education Strategy for Africa at the bachelor, master and doctoral levels and making the research outputs available through Africa education research portals such as the DATAD by Association of African Universities (AAU);
- Continental Education Strategy for Africa clubs on African university campuses could be created to champion its awareness and ideals;
- an abridged version of the strategy should be circulated to relevant stakeholders, which provides clear and condensed messages;
- Rigorous campaigns supporting the awareness of the CESA at national and regional levels should be made;
- the AU should establish an independent digital television to serve member countries through which it can propagate the Continental Education Strategy for Africa;
- a CESA secretariat should be established with a major mandate of creating and disseminating research outputs relative to the CESA and its awareness;
The study outlines the necessary organisations that should spearhead these recommendations. The report of the study is available here.
Fred Awaah, University of Professional Studies – Accra, University of Burundi Doctoral School,