Bridging the Gap: ECOSOCC's Consultations on the AU Theme of the Year 2024 on Education


The African Union (AU)’s vision for 2024 and beyond is clear: to implement an education strategy (the African Union Continental Education Strategy for Africa (CESA 16-25)) that not only meets the immediate needs of Africa's youth but also anticipates the future challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

The declaration of 2024 as a year dedicated to this endeavor signifies that education is the cornerstone of Africa’s development.

Spearheaded by the Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC), a series of consultations is underway, inviting Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to actively participate in executing the AU’s vision to “Educate an African Fit for the 21st Century: Building resilient education systems for increased access to inclusive, lifelong, quality, and relevant learning in Africa.”

The series of consultations are not just discussions, but a collective call to action for CSOs to contribute their insights and expertise towards developing education strategies that are both dynamic and inclusive.

The inaugural session, which took place on 9th April 2024, virtually via Zoom, set the tone for constructive dialogue, focusing on identifying and addressing the challenges that hinder the education sector in Africa.

Collaborative Efforts for Educational Excellence

Setting the stage for the discussions was the presentation on the CESA 16-25 by Dr. Caseley Olabode Stephens (Policy Officer at the African Union Commission's Department of Education). He provided insights into the current state of education across the continent and the strategic objectives of the AU in reforming education systems.

Also central to the discussions was the indispensable role of education as a pillar of individual empowerment and societal advancement, reinforcing the AU's dedication to enhancing the sector as a catalyst for sustainable development across the continent.

Mr. Mahamat Haroun Adoum (Chair of the Human Resources, Science and Technology (HRST) Cluster Committee of ECOSOCC) stressed this point to stakeholders at the meeting.

CSOs for Educational Reform in Africa

At the heart of the discussions lay the unwavering belief in education as the foundation upon which the future of Africa will be built.

As Mr. John Mbuthi (an Education Research Consultant) pointed out, the continent's vision for education transcends the traditional focus on literacy and numeracy, aiming instead to cultivate an educational ecosystem that fosters critical thinking, innovation, and adaptability among its youth.

This forward-thinking approach is designed to equip young Africans with the skills and knowledge necessary to navigate the complexities of the modern world and to contribute meaningfully to their societies.

Integrating Values into Learning

A particularly innovative aspect of the dialogue was the focus on weaving principles of good governance and peace into the education curricula. This approach seeks to nurture a generation that values transparency, democratic governance, and peaceful conflict resolution.

Mr. Louis Sissoko (Chair of the Political Affairs Cluster Committee of ECOSOCC) explained that by instilling these principles from a young age, the approach will lay the groundwork for a stable, prosperous Africa, where the youth are not only equipped with academic knowledge but also with a deep understanding of the values that are essential for the continent's progress.

Dr. Jonathan Sandy (Chair of the Peace and Security Cluster Committee at ECOSOCC) elaborated on that point and broke down the linkages between education, peace and security. Dr. Sandy presented peace education as a vital tool for conflict prevention and resolution and noted the adverse effects of conflict on educational access and infrastructure.

The Role of CSOs in Educating an African Fit for the 21st Century

As Mr. William Carew (Head of the ECOSOCC Secretariat) and Mr. Kyeretwie Osei (Head of Programs at ECOSOCC) pointed out, ECOSOCC’s invitation to CSOs to partake in this consultation series highlights the critical role that civil society plays in shaping public policy and driving social change.

Through these consultations, CSOs have the opportunity to contribute their unique perspectives and expertise, influencing the development of education strategies that are both innovative and inclusive. Participants not only contribute to the dialogue but also stand to be recognized for their contributions in the eventual policy documentation. This collaborative effort amplifies the voices of diverse stakeholders and ensures that the resulting policies reflect the real needs and aspirations of African societies.

Engage, Contribute, Transform

The call to action remains open: for educators, policymakers, students, and all stakeholders within the African education sector to join these discussions. The consultations will continue with three additional sessions scheduled for 16th, 23rd and 30th April at 11AM UTC. Join us!