Africa should be accountable, take ownership of education and training

05Sep 2019
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Africa should be accountable, take ownership of education and training

A skill is the ability to carry out a task with determined results often within a given amount of time, energy, or both. Skills can often be divided into domain-general and domain-specific skills.

For example, in the domain of work, some general skills would include time management, teamwork and leadership, self-motivation and others, whereas domain-specific skills would be used only for a certain job. Skill usually requires certain environmental stimuli and situations to assess the level of skill being shown and used.

People need a broad range of skills to contribute to a modern economy. Three broad categories of skills are suggested and these are technical, human, and conceptual. The first two can be substituted with hard and soft skills, respectively.

Hard skills, also called technical skills, are any skills relating to a specific task or situation. It involves both understanding and proficiency in such specific activity that involves methods, processes, procedures, or techniques. These skills are easily quantifiable unlike soft skills, which are related to one's personality. These are also skills that can be or have been tested and may entail some professional, technical, or academic qualification.

Skilled workers have long had historical import as electricians, masons, carpenters, blacksmiths, bakers, brewers, coopers, printers and other occupations that are economically productive. Skilled workers were often politically active through their craft guilds.

The term people skills is used to include both psychological skills and social skills but is less inclusive than life skills.

Social skill is any skill facilitating interaction and communication with others. Social rules and relations are created, communicated, and changed in verbal and nonverbal ways. The process of learning such skills is called socialization.

Soft skills are a combination of interpersonal people skills, social skills, communication skills, character traits, attitudes, career attributes and emotional intelligence quotient (EQ) among others.

Skills can be categorized based on the level of expertise and motivation.

THE African Development Bank is partnering with the Association for the Development of Education in Africa and the African Union to launch a US$300 million fund to support the development of technical and science education on the continent.

The African Education Fund will finance training in post-secondary education including Technical Vocational Education and Training, STEM and Science, Technology and Innovation skills.

STEM is a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines — science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

It will be a “unique” Africa-initiated, continental level education fund designed, led and managed by Africans, and will become operational in 2020.

It responds to African rather than global educational priorities by earmarking funds for specific purposes to meet Africa’s needs, while insulating education and training from effects of volatile and unpredictable” financing from external partners.

A joint declaration issued last month after an AEF workshop in Abidjan, Ivory Coast by representatives of government and regional economic blocs reinforced its support for the establishment of the fund, with Ivory Coast asking African countries to be accountable and to take ownership of Africa’s education and training.

He encouraged AEF proponents to pay special attention to supporting the vulnerable including girls and people with disabilities in the structure of the fund.

“The African Education Fund is a vision many education stakeholders have had but could not put into practice, it is no longer just a vision – it is a reality,” Oley Dibba Wadda, the Bank’s director of Human Capital, Youth and Skills Development said at the event.

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