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SADC education summit starts in Windhoek


by Shasimana Uugulu
Education

    A  five day summit for Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) Ministers of Education kicks off today in Windhoek to deliberate on Regional Strategic Framework for Technical and Vocational Education and Training, Establishment of the Regional Qualifications Framework (RQF).The summit will also see the Minister of Education Dr Abraham Iyambo announcing this year’s winners of the annual Sadc Secondary School Essay Competition.The summit will discuss the cost barriers to access higher education and student mobility, education sector's response to HIV and Aids in the region; and the implementation of the Second Decade of Education Plan of Action (PoA) and Protocol on Education and Training (PET). The meeting is a consolidation of the Sadc regional integration agenda and an agreement by the trading bloc to make education a critical component for development.The Sadc region has adopted strategies in the past to enhance education for all in all member states and also emphasising development of vocational training to enhance skills development. In the past few years, Sadc countries have recorded increases in free movement of students to regional tertiary institutions in search of better educational facilities and career enhancement.Speaking to The Villager the Education Ministry Senior Public Relations Officer, Toivo Mvula, said the meeting aims at establishing common grounds on how to deal with common challenges facing the education sector within the region.“The meeting will tackle common challenges facing the education sector within the region to ensure that they are addressed and do not derail our development goals. It will also discuss ways to help with the integration of students and decrease barriers they face in their quest for education,” said Mvula.    The education sector in southern Africa has long been dogged by many challenges such as the spread of HIV/Aids among teachers and learners; inadequate teachings aids; lack of proper classrooms infrastructure; and high education fees.Despite efforts by governments, there has also been an increase in a number of unwanted pregnancies among students and allegations of immoral acts between teachers and learners. In terms of HIV/Aids prevalent rate, sub-Saharan Africa is considered the most affected region in the world. Two-thirds of all people infected with HIV live in sub-Saharan Africa, although this region contains little more than 10% of the world’s population. The most obvious effect of this crisis has been illness and death, but the impact of the epidemic has certainly not been confined to the health sector; households, schools, workplaces and economies have also been badly affected.