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African Education Ministers meet for science forum

At least 12 African Ministers of Education will meet in Nairobi for the 6th Forum of the Partnership for Skills in Applied Sciences, Engineering, and Technology (PASET).

The Forum, to be held from April 23–25, 2024, brings together academia, industry, and governments across Africa to discuss the future of skills, education, and entrepreneurship on the continent.

The theme of the conference is “Leveraging Technical, Vocational, and Technical Training (TVET) in the Knowledge and Skills Ecosystem for Africa’s Industrialisation.”.

The forum, to be held at Safari Park Hotel, will particularly discuss the role of African higher education in shaping the Continent’s green economy and the future of work. More than 500 participants are expected to attend the forum.

Speaking ahead of the conference, Education Cabinet Secretary (CS) Dr. Ezekiel Machogu said: “Africa’s socio-economic transformation relies on its ability to develop relevant skills and promote scientific research and technology for industry and society.”

He added, “It is evident that our collective efforts are not only driving the advancement of science, technology, and innovation in Africa but are also laying the foundation for socio-economic transformation across our nations. I am in no doubt that the objectives we set to achieve in the 6th PASET Forum will be achieved.”

The Forum will discuss the nature and type of knowledge and skills required for Africa’s industrialization, specifically the development and diffusion of digital technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), robotics, and data analytics in the entrepreneurial ecosystem of the continent.

Kenya’s Ministry of Education is collaborating with the PASET Secretariat and the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE), the Regional Coordination Unit for PASET’s Regional Scholarship and Innovation Fund (RSIF), to organise the event.

Several PASET countries will share their experiences and expectations of how skills should evolve and prepare the continent’s youth for the future of work and industrialization.

The Regional Scholarship and Innovation Fund (RSIF) scholars, together with their mentors, supervisors, and other stakeholders in the higher education sector in Africa and abroad, will showcase their work addressing needs for the green economy and the future of work. This will include the contributions of sectors like food security and agribusiness, AI and data science, climate change, energy and minerals, mining, and materials sciences.

Chair of the PASET Executive Board based in Senegal, Prof. Aminata Diallo, said: “The need to fill the skills gap in applied sciences, engineering, and technology and foster socio-economic transformation in Africa is what has motivated African governments to implement PASET since 2013 with the support of the World Bank.”

PASET is a unique Africa-led initiative, which focuses on building skills for key economic sectors that support Africa’s socio-economic transformation, from the upper-secondary/TVET level to postgraduate education and scientific research.

Currently, the PASET programme has 12 members, which include the Governments of Rwanda, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Benin, Tanzania, Somalia, Burkina Faso, and Kenya.

It is governed by African Education Ministers, scientists, development experts, business leaders, and African academics and is facilitated by the World Bank.

By Joseph Ng’ang’a

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