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Science and technology teaching must undergo reform at all levels of African educational systems, according to a ten-year plan adopted by the continent's education ministers.

The ministers approved the African Union's 2006-2015 plan of action for education at a meeting last week (2-4 August) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The plan states that science and technology "is the most important tool available for addressing challenges to development and poverty eradication, and participating in the global economy".

"Indeed, to achieve [the UN Millennium Development Goals], there is no alternative to knowledge, skills and human resources in science and technology," it adds.

The plan says teaching methods should highlight links between science and technology on one hand, and the learner's culture and environment on the other. It says this should improve learning outcomes, promote the use of indigenous knowledge and encourage more girls to pursue scientific careers.


The plan also says women's participation in science and technology courses will be increased at all levels of higher education.

It also calls for educational centres in Africa to form networks with each other and with institutions abroad, as well as with the public and private sectors.


To assess the quality of teaching and learning, the African Union will set up an 'African education observatory' to gather data on key indicators of progress being made.

Hassan Abdel Aal Moawad of Egypt's National Research Center welcomes the plan, saying it will help produce the scientists and scientifically literate citizens needed to build knowledge-based societies in Africa.

Moawad says African science education must focus on modern fields in which the continent lacks expertise, such as biotechnology, information technology, nanotechnology and renewable energy, as well as issues such as bioethics and intellectual property rights.

The African Union approved a steering committee to monitor and evaluate how the action plan is implemented.


Link to African Union's Plan of Action for the Second Decade of Education for Africa (2006-2015) [369KB]