ECOWAS moves to harmonise educational system

Member states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have planned to review strategies for the strengthening of human capital.

The strategies, which are based on knowledge-economy, are expected to be approved by the ministers of education in the region.

At the opening of the meeting in Abuja at the weekend, the ECOWAS Commission’s Commissioner for Education, Science and Culture, Prof. Hamidou Boly, said the harmonisation would help to develop the region in various sectors.

He identified human capital, based on knowledge-economy as a critical factor to address the developmental challenges caused by the lack of requisite skills in several sectors.

To achieve this, he said: “We must move from physical and mineral resources to human capital.”

Also, a representative of the ECOWAS Parliament, Dr. Alieu Senghore, supported that the 15-member states’ regional economic community, need to harmonise its educational system.

He said the parliament has an important role to play in ensuring that the policies and strategies proposed by the experts are passed into laws among member states.

The representative of the African Union Commission (AUC) and the International Centre for Girls’ and Women’s Education in Africa (CIEFFA), Mrs. Yankoy Simone, also reiterated the AUC’s commitment to partnering the ECOWAS.

She said the partnership was necessary to achieve its agenda 2063, which includes improving and harmonising educational systems in Africa.

The Managing Director, Skill `G’ Nigeria Limited, Dr. Gregory Ibe, told journalists that his firm would collaborate to train over 12, 000 persons on technical education yearly.

He explained that his firm was brought on board to design the strategy for technical and vocational education, as well as improvement in skills to make the people employable.

“We started this collaboration with UNESCO during the Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration to deepen technical and vocational education and attracted ECOWAS for its adoption.

“The training would cover from primary to tertiary education and we are also looking at how to standardise certification of degrees and curricula in the sub-region. The training will start with a seven-member nation pilot project, involving the teaching of 300 train-the-trainers professionals from every nation.

According to Ibe, Science and laboratory courses in most of Nigeria’s higher institutions have been accredited due to the availability of Skill `G ‘ laboratories.

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