Malawian President Peter Mutharika has called for collective determination among African leaders to decide the right education for developing Africa and promote lifelong learning opportunities for its people in science and technology to support the Africa-Must-Industrialize-Agenda.
Mutharika made the remarks in Lilongwe on Saturday when he opened the first extraordinary summit of the African Union Summit of the Committee of Ten Heads of State and Government in Lilongwe.
The committee, dubbed AU-C10, champions education, science and technology in Africa where most of the Heads of State and Government had opted to delegate ministers as their representatives.
The summit is meeting under the theme of Enhancing Education, Science, Technology and Innovation for Africa’s Development.
In his address, Mutharika said as a Global Champion for Education, mandated to represent Africa in financing global education, his special mission was to champion education, science and technology on the continent.
“We are the leadership mandated to show our people the lighted path to the Africa We Want. This Summit must ensure that the African Union must see that path.
“We have a common path to our destiny because we share a common past. We share common challenges. And we share a common goal. Our mission is to ensure that Africa has the right education for African progress. Our goal is to ensure that such education is inclusive, equitable, and desirable quality of education, “ he said.
He said among others, African countries must promote life-long learning opportunities for their people as well as sustainably financing education in the long term.
“This is the education we want for the Africa by 2063. We all agree that for Africa to develop, we need the right education and skills in science and technology. The Africa we have today is the product of its education systems, or our lack of the same. We can change Africa by changing what we do in education, “ he said.
The Malawi leader also called for a mindset revolution in Africa, saying Africans must change the way they think about education, science and technology.
“We do not need education for education’s sake. We also need to find ways of bridging our African indigenous knowledge systems with science and technology. We must make science and technology part of the African child’s culture and his world,” he said
He said it was unfortunate that for a too long, Africa has taught science as if it is a Western subject.
“Science is not foreign to Africa. We think of technology as an imported practice. Technology is not to Africa. Science and technology belong here on this continent. We are the origin of science and technology in the world. Even the first university in this world started in Africa, “ he said.
He therefore said the Summit was obviously important in setting the agenda for the rest of Africa.
“Let this Summit come up with the visionary recommendations that will be presented to the African Union Assembly. This Summit has a critical role to shape the destiny of Africa. And it is for us a generation of leaders to find that destiny, “ said Mutharika.
African Union Commission (AUC) Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and technology Prof Sarah Anyang Agbor said Africa needs to put in place concrete measures that would harness the demographic dividend in science, research, technology and innovation.
“We need to explore opportunities that would advance development in line with the Agenda 2063,” she said.
She appealed to the private sector to be well represented in this field by offering internship programmes in science and technology in order for the continent to see positive changes.
Prime Minister of Senegal, Mahammed Boun Abdalla Dionne said there is need for Africa to create a science and innovative society in order to promote such issues at the continental level.
“Africa needs to invest in science and technology in areas where these exist. We need to give resources to translate ambitions into reality,” he said.
The Senegalese Prime Minister bemoaned funding levels in the education sector saying it poses a threat to the development of science and technology.
“Investing in education and training is vital but then constraint is funding and this is a major challenge. If we are to progress in science and technology, there is need to invest in this through adequate funding,” he said.
Prior to the heads of State and Government Summit, Ministers of Education met on Friday whose meeting prepared the groundwork for the President’s meeting.
Malawi’s Minister of Education, Science and Technology Bright Msaka told journalists that Africa is likely to be propelled forward through greater advancements in science, technology innovation and research.
He said: “Science, technology, innovation and research are areas that will propel Africa forwards. Therefore, these issues ought to be put at the forefront of this continent’s agenda.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :