Secretary General, H.E. G. Irving Levance, welcomes delegation from North Africa
Envoys for a consortium of North African education bodies were hosted today by His Excellency.
The dignitaries discussed a pivotal role to be played by EDU in promoting greater cooperation between accreditation agencies and education providers throughout North Africa and beyond.
With a potent mix of clashes of language, culture, post-colonial influences, traditional belief systems and the effects of modernization and globalization, North Africa presents a unique set of challenges in educational matters.
Emerging as it is from the immediate aftermath of the Arab Spring, the area is still coming to terms with the seismic social and political shifts recently unleashed and their ongoing aftershocks.
The current state education systems are largely the intact legacy of the colonial era, aimed at the training of the very bicultural elite that has been largely swept from power and which can be seen as at odds with many of the values expounded by the fundamentalist Islamic ‘awakening’ movements.
The reality is that the North African region has made tremendous strides in the provision of primary education over the past 25 years.
The region achieved by far the world’s highest rate of progress with an average increase of 1.4 per cent a year.
If these average annual rates of progress were maintained, the region would be well on track to meet the goal of universal primary education by 2025.
It is a creditable fact that Algeria, Egypt and Tunisia are all getting close to the provision of universal primary education.
Of course, averages cannot tell the whole story and there are countries where the education system is not as developed and where even the impressive gains recorded in the region, would be insufficient to ensure that all children were in school by 2025.
Gender inequality is a pertinent issue. It is one that falls into the divisive ground between the declared aims and norms generally accepted globally, and deeply held fundamental Islamic beliefs, especially concerning gender roles.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights has emphasized education’s importance as a fundamental human right and a necessary element of development.
Education encompasses the scope of social values, morality, tradition, religion, politics and history. It is the acquired body of knowledge that equips the emerging labor force with the necessary skills to ensure its active participation in economic development.
The acquisition of literacy, arithmetic, and problem-solving skills improves the value and efficiency of labor.
It creates a skilled and intellectually flexible labor force through training, expertise, and academic credentials. A professional working force enhances the quality of a nation's economic productivity and guarantees its suitability for global market competitiveness.
According to a recent research report by the United Nations Population Fund, North African countries such as Egypt and Algeria have invested in family planning, healthcare, and education and have subsequently experienced more rapid economic development than the countries that were reluctant to invest in social development programs.
EDU Secretary General Irving Levance personally savours North African culture by donning the generous gift of traditional garments.
Nonetheless, as useful as they clearly are, such programs run the risk of being seen as an unwelcome imposition upon the local populous from a foreign culture.
Many topics of interest were discussed, particularly concerning how to promote the best practices of cross-border accreditation, without undermining traditional belief systems and cultures.