The African Union International Center for Girls’ and Women’s Education in Africa (African Union CIEFFA) convened 50 education experts from Ministries of Education from AU Member States for a three day meeting in Dakar, Senegal from the 21st – 23rd of June under the theme “Assessing Learning Losses to Embrace Learning Recovery for African Girls”.
H.E Prof. Mohammed Belhocine, Commissioner, Education, Science, Technology (ESTI-AUC) officially welcomed all the participants and underlined that the theme of this meeting was of strategic importance to the AU’s overall agenda of strengthening human resources on the continent as well as to the implementation of the African Union CIEFFA’s strategic plan (2021-2025). He added that according to the World Bank, learning Poverty has risen to 70% in Sub-Saharan Africa as a result of COVID-19.
“This learning crisis threatens our countries' efforts to develop their human capital and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and Aspirations 1 and 6 of the AU Agenda 2063,” he said. He further added that girls and women remain a priority for the ESTI-AUC department and that through the AU/CIEFFA, the AU carry out the important work of advocacy and promotion of girls' access to all cycles of learning.
H.E Dr Cheikh Oumar Anne, Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation of Senegal officially opened the meeting on behalf of His Excellency, President Macky Sall of the Republic of
Republic of Senegal. He thanked the African Union CIEFFA for organizing this Experts Meeting and for facilitating a platform for education experts to share and exchange knowledge around learning losses particularly for African girls. The Minister also reiterated President Macky Sall’s, currently Chair of the African Union, commitment to ensure equitable access to Education for all.
“The President of the Republic of Senegal considers education and higher education as the levers of economic and social development of our country” he noted.
Mrs Vigdis Cristofoli, Education Counsellor of the Permanent Mission of Norway to the African Union reiterated Norway’s commitment to supporting AU Member States through its partnership with the AU, in achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4, Quality Education, and the promotion of girls’ and women’s education through its long-term partnership with the African Union CIEFFA.
She further highlighted that “100 million school-aged children in African countries were out of school prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and during the crisis school lockdown this number exacerbated to 250 million” and stressed that education is a pre-requisite for success in the development of gender equality.
The Deputy Minister of Basic and Secondary Education of Sierra Leone; Hon. Mamusu P. Komeh-Massaquoi in her remarks reflected on the impact of COVID-19 on learning, particularly the impacts on women and girls’ education. She pointed out that women and girls make up 70% of the world's hungry, and as families struggle, girls are more likely than boys to be taken out of school. Hon. Mamusu emphasised that school closures not only cause learning losses but also cause losses in human capital and economic opportunities over the long term.
In closing the opening ceremony, Dr Rita Bissoonauth, Head of Mission, African Union CIEFFA set the context of the meeting by giving participants the history and work of the African Union CIEFFA. She stated that the institution works closely with the AU Member States through relevant Ministries of Education, Gender, Science and Technology, and other stakeholders including International Partners, CSOs, and Youth, to champion girls’ education in Africa.
African Union International Centre for Girls’ and Women’s Education in Africa
AU/CIEFFA is a specialized institution of the African Union under the Department of Education, Science, Technology and innovation. The Institution aims to promote girls’ and women’s education with a view towards their full participation in the eradication of poverty and the edification of a peaceful world for sustainable human development. http://cieffa.au.int.
Ms. Anoziva Marindire, Communications Officer | African Union CIEFFA | African Union Commission | Tel: +226 25 37 61 55 | E-mail: MarindireA@african-union.org| Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
Mr Boubakar Yougbare, Programme Officer | African Union CIEFFA | African Union Commission | Tel: +226 25 37 61 55 | Email: BoubakarY@africa-union.org | Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso+