African countries urged to reconfigure education systems to confront challenges Some of the delegates to the 4th Pan African Youth Forum in Victoria Falls

Leonard Ncube, Victoria Falls Reporter
AFRICAN countries, Zimbabwe included, should reconfigure the education system to create a young generation that can help address the continent’s challenges through education.

This came out during the 4th Pan African Youth Forum organised by the Association of Technical Universities and Polytechnic in Africa (ATUPA) in Victoria Falls.

The youth forum started yesterday as a precursor to the ATUPA conference which starts today and ends on Friday under the theme: “Work based learning and the Transition to decent work in the new era of Africa Continental Free Trade Area.”

Deputy Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Higher Education in Gambia Mr Madi Ousman Jatta who was guest of honour said Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) plays a critical role in developing young minds and entrepreneurs.

“We need a paradigm shift to revitalise TVET for job creation and not job seeking. In this regard, there is need for strong public-private partnerships between Government, industry, training institutions and the employer through structured programmes,” he said.

ATUPA was created in 2019 through a resolution of the General Assembly of Heads of Member Institutions of the Commonwealth Association of Technical Universities and Polytechnics in Africa in Kigali, Rwanda and this was ratified by the Ministers of Education from Africa Union member states at the 3rd Ordinary Session of the Specialised Committee on Education, Science and Technology.

The first youth forum was held in Abuja in Nigeria while the second was in Kigali, and the 3rd one was held virtually because of Covid-19 lockdown.

Zimbabwe is hosting the 4th edition and the purpose of the forum is create a platform for youths to interact and share ideas and capacitate them with entrepreneurial skills to be able to drive the continent forward.

Harare Polytechnic Principal Engineer Tafadzva Mudondo who is also vice chairperson of Southern and Central African Region ATUPA said TVET holds the key to technological progress, rapid industrialization, wealth creation and poverty reduction as a catalyst for socio-economic development.

He said the continent is endowed with natural resources that are not exploited for the benefit of the motherland.

“Africa has a lot of talent but we are classified as developing. So we need to change the way we teach our students and change their mindset of so that they are business minded.

“We need to reconfigure our education system so that we address our problems and have youths who have ideas like any others in the world. We need to use our education system to address our problems and these young people should demonstrate through start-up businesses and be responsible citizens,” said Eng Mudondo.

He said TVET is fundamental for the development of youth skills for resilient and sustenance of economic development.

This is in line with the Second Republic drive to transform the economy though human capital development, and Government is already championing the Education 5.0 policy which seeks to encourage innovation at learning institutions.

“TVET produces youth who are the future practitioners in terms of leadership, engineering and entrepreneurship designed to mitigate against socio-economic challenges and national development agenda,” added Eng Mudondo.

ATUP secretary general Jahou Faal said the forum seeks to find ways of creating livelihoods and wealth among youths so they contribute to the continent’s GDP.

TVET is a very critical building block towards a realising an economic development, decent work and economic growth to reduce poverty in Africa towards achieving Africa Union Agenda 2063.— @ncubeleon

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