Sustainable Development Should Target Basic Education

Professor Ahlin Byill-Cataria, Executive Secretary of the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA), has said education for sustainable development should not target higher education alone but concentrate on the entire spectrum of the training process with major emphasis on basic education.

He told the GNA in an interview that targeting higher education to lead socio-economic transformation had made education not responsive to community architecture and economic needs of states especially in Africa.

“We need a paradigm shift to move education and training from the teaching approaches to learning methodologies that are scientific and practical, at the same time broadening the scope for STI investments,” he said.

Prof Byill-Cataria said decades of compartmentalization of tertiary education had failed to produce results as more emphasis was laid on the training and development of STI at the tertiary level at the expense of secondary and basic education.

“Let’s allow children to express and integrate their intrinsic knowledge and competences into leveraging STI as the basis to champion science renaissance and re-engineering in Africa,” he added.

Prof Romain Murenzi, Executive Director, TWAS-Academy of Sciences for the Developing World and former Rwanda Minister of Science and Technology, said the political vision and will to remove barriers inhibiting the relationship between primary or basic, secondary and higher education was as crucial as development in the sector itself.

He said Rwanda had a political vision to become a knowledge-based country in the next 10-15 years and making frantic efforts to build its educational infrastructure to serve as a fulcrum around which development would resolve.

Prof Murenzi said for instance it is government’s policy to reduce children walking distance to school to the bearest minimum with all schools’ computer compliant and accessible to the internet.

He said this conscious attempt to narrow the yawning education gap was serving as a pull factor for some prestigious universities and university colleges in the United States relocating campuses to Rwanda. GNA

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