|Learning for Life, Work and the Future - Stimulating Reform in Southern Africa through Subregional Co-Operation - Initial Workshop (UNEVOC - Bonn, 2000, 104 p.)|
Master of Ceremonies,
Your Excellency, Minister of Education of the Republic of Botswana,
Ms Nganunu, Director of the Department of Vocational Education and Training,
Representative of the SADC Secretariat,
Excellencies from the Diplomatic Missions,
Distinguished Experts from the Southern African countries,
On behalf of the Director-General of UNESCO, I would like first and foremost to congratulate the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Botswana on its initiative, and for the excellent preparation of this workshop under the motto Learning for Life, Work and the Future - Stimulating Reform in Southern Africa through Subregional Co-operation.
The Role of UNESCO
As you will know, UNESCO held its Second International Congress on Technical and Vocational Education in Seoul, Republic of Korea, in 1999. This congress has come up with new visions. It has emphasized the need for a new relationship between education and training, and for a holistic approach to the preparation for life and for the world of work, while underlining the need for learning throughout life.
Following the Seoul Congress, UNESCO has launched a long-term International Programme on Technical and Vocational Education and Training. An International Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training was established three months ago in Bonn, Germany. This underlines UNESCOs commitment to contribute to human, social and economic development through the promotion of technical and vocational education and training in its Member States.
During the past seven years, Africa has been the focus of a number of initiatives within UNESCOs International Project on Technical and Vocational Education (UNEVOC). The International Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training in Bonn is expected to foster UNESCOs action in this area, and to provide a platform for closer co-operation with international governmental organizations with an interest in that field. The current initiative Learning for Life, Work and the Future: Stimulating Reform in Southern Africa through Subregional Co-operation is a tangible expression of that effort.
Learning for Life, Work and the Future
Our motto, Learning for Life, Work and the Future, indicates that we will be dealing with learning in a broad context.
This motto stands for proactive learning, which means that its content as well as its delivery methods have to be future-oriented. The knowledge and skills that we will need tomorrow must be developed today.
The Southern African region is fully exposed to worldwide trends of globalization, new technologies, and new forms of work organization. In addition, the cultural and political heritages as well as the need for socio-economic development provide unique environments that citizens and political leaders in each of your countries are facing.
It is my belief that, in spite of all that diversity, a number of challenges remain common concerns for most of your countries, and that it is worth identifying starting points for joint approaches and common solutions. The existing diversity of environments and approaches should not be looked upon as a barrier, but rather as a rich resource, as a valuable basis for cross-fertilization, and as a challenge to make intelligent use of existing options, ideas, solutions and innovations in technical and vocational education and training.
The International Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The initiative Learning for Life, Work and the Future is the first major activity of UNESCOs newly established International Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training in Bonn. As a matter of fact, we started our first planning session with Ms Nganunu on 12 July 2000, in the evening of the very day on which the Director-General of UNESCO, Mr Matsuura, and the German Federal Minister for Education and Science, Ms Bulmahn, signed the Host Country Agreement for the Centre in Bonn.
The new International Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training is UNESCOs focal point and hub for the worldwide UNEVOC Network. The UNEVOC Network now links more than 200 leading institutions in technical and vocational education and training in 138 Member States of UNESCO. The Department of Vocational Education and Training in Botswana, as you can see, is a particularly active one. In addition, for many years, Ms Nganunu has served as Chairperson of the UNEVOC International Advisory Committee. Incidentally, another most active network partner, the UNEVOC Centre of Canada, has asked me to announce a new initiative Learning to Learn, which I will happily do later this week.
UNESCOs joint sponsorship of the initiative Learning for Life, Work and the Future is a visible expression of our commitment to promote subregional co-operation in technical and vocational education and training, with the ultimate objective of serving the needs of citizens in the Southern African region.
My colleagues and myself at the International Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training in Bonn, which is the partner of the Government of Botswana in this initiative, were particularly pleased to collaborate closely with the Director the Department of Vocational Education and Training. It has been highly stimulating to work with her for the last few months, and to benefit from her professional leadership. We have had the privilege to work with Mr Kewagamang at the UNESCO Centre in Bonn for several weeks, but we also know that my colleague Ms Mitschke, who has promoted this initiative so effectively, cannot be with us this week.
I wish to express my sincere gratitude to all those who, through their dedicated work, have made it possible to launch this initiative within a very short period of time. I wish to thank all of the participants who have responded to the Call for Papers, and contributed to the rich documentation that will enhance our work in the course of the week. My thanks go likewise to Mr Swartland for the excellent Main Working Document that he has prepared.
We are grateful to the Ministry of Education of Botswana as well as to the German Federal Ministry for Economic Co-operation and Development, who have contributed substantial resources to this workshop.
Last but not least, I wish to convey to you the warmest regards of the Director of UNESCOs Office in Dakar, Mr Parsuramen, whose responsibility is the development of Education in Africa. He has expressed his keen interest in the results of this workshop, and he is looking forward to supporting follow-up action that will emerge from this workshop.
I wish all of you a stimulating and productive workshop that is expected to come up with new initiatives for co-operation among your countries in technical and vocational education and training, and that will hopefully have a positive impact on human resource development in all of your countries.
Ke itumetse bomma le borra. Pula!