Science key to achieving Millennium Development Goals, says African Union

August 10, 2006

Brussels, 09 Aug 2006

A 10-year plan to improve Africa's education systems highlights the importance of science and technology to achieving the Millennium Development Goals. African Education Ministers adopted the Plan of Action for the second Decade of Education for Africa at a meeting in Addis Ababa from 2 to 4 August.

Evaluations of the first Decade of Education for Africa (1997-2006) revealed that most of its goals were not achieved, due to poor publicity and lack of ownership among key stakeholders. The second decade is due to run from 2006 to 2015, and the African Union hopes that this Plan of Action will ensure it is more successful than the first.

The Action Plan describes science and technology as 'the most important tool available for addressing challenges to development and poverty eradication, and participating in the global economy.' It goes on, 'to achieve MDGs, there is no alternative to knowledge, skills and human resources in science and technology.' The Plan then states that the teaching and learning of science in Africa must be reformed at all levels, if the continent is to have a culture of science, technology, research and education.

On higher education, the plan states that there will be a focus on the promotion of original knowledge, and the development of partnerships both within Africa and with the rest of the world.

Another common theme running through the Action Plan is equality, with particular reference to women and people with HIV/AIDS. In this respect it highlights the importance of increasing the numbers of female teachers at all levels, and getting more women into science and technology in higher education. It also notes that men must be equal partners in the fight for gender equality.

At the international level, the Action Plan criticises international agencies and development partners for their failure to support the first Decade of Education. It notes that although many partners implemented education programmes in Africa throughout the period, these were rarely linked with the decade and did not tie in with its goals. During the second Decade, greater efforts will be made to gain international support for the Action Plan.

Further information

CORDIS RTD-NEWS/© European Communities, 2006
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