By Ndey Sowe
Gambia’s Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE) hosts the third Africa Continental Curriculum Conference which commenced on the 23rd of May at the Sir Dawda Kairba Jawara International Conference Centre in Bijilo. The conference brings together policymakers, curriculum developers, researchers and implementers, practitioners and other key stakeholders in the public and private sectors, to deliberate on the theme: “Education Technology & Curriculum Alignment in the New Era.”
The conference includes presentations, pioneering sessions, roundtable discussions and workshops on knowledge sharing and good practices on curriculum development and implementation.
The conference is in partnership with UNESCO’s International Bureau of Education’s Geneva Office, African Curriculum Association (ACA), African Union, Organisation of Education, Cooperation and the Organisation of Education Commission.
The objective of the Conference is to achieve a shared understanding of how the mis-alignment between School curriculum, teacher education and learning assessment affects the quality of education, and aims to investigate the potentials of technology and innovation in enhancing curriculum development as well as elect new members of the ACA Executive Committee.
Speaking at the event, Mrs. Claudiana A. Cole, the Minister of Basic and Secondary Education, (MoBSE) said the conference represents one of the much-needed strategies for Africa and its respective education policies. An exciting week in which knowledge and lessons learned across Africa was promised to participants, both face-to-face and virtually, by exploring how to address the mismatch between School curriculum, teacher education and learning assessment including the intended, the implemented and the achieved curriculum.
Minister Cole hopes that the Conference will provide a platform where participants will explore the potential of technology and innovations to enhance curriculum processes and products necessary for the acquisition of 21st century competencies, knowledge and skills.
She said MoBSE is proud to be associated with the platform created to enable policymakers, practitioners and experts in the technological space, engage in dialogue on strategies to address the challenges holistically. She challenged participants to discuss and find solutions to the challenges in the education sector, and said it will be necessary to show how Africa can make progress towards quality curricula and learning using both conventional and technological modes to prepare young people to address the current and emerging challenges.
“It is my hope that this Conference will lay a very strong foundation for long-term partnerships between the co-organizers and other institutions within and outside of Africa, for experience exchange and South-South cooperation,” Mrs. Cole said.
For his part, the Secretary General of the Organisation of Educational Cooperation (OEC) H. E. Sheikh Manssour Bin Mussallam, said he is optimistic that the conference will build on the importance of regional integration and retake the title of OEC’s strategic plan to shape the future we want through the education that is needed.
“We must ensure the encounter of all sources of knowledge, the fertile union of experiences and the fructuous expression of dignified divergences and the fruitful interchange of respectful disagreements,” H.E. Mussallam asserted.
Momodou Jeng, Director of CREDD at MoBSE, said fourteen years ago when the Gambia hosted a conference on curriculum, experts, educationists on curriculum from various parts of Africa were brought together to discuss and interrogate the kind of basic education program for Africa that will respond to the development needs of the continent.
“We are gathered in the Gambia once again this morning to discuss and share experiences and expertise on how to make curriculum content more relevant and responsive to the development challenges of the world and Africa in particular. These include climate change and its ramifications, youth unemployment, migration, extremism, violence and conflicts and the covid-19 pandemic,” Mr. Jeng explained. These challenges he said require thoughtful innovations and rethinking especially with systems that relied for a long time on the traditional face to face way of lesson delivery.
Mr. Jeng said education technology and curriculum alignment as in the theme of this year’s conference implies a paradigm shift in the teaching pedagogies, assessments, examination designs and tools.
Other speakers at the event include ACA Chairperson Dr. Grace Baguma and IBE Director Dr. Ydo Yao.