Reform teacher training curriculum – YOTA to African governments

The Team Lead for Innovation and Skills at the Youth and Transformation in Africa (YOTA) for the Youth Employment and Skills (YES) Chapter of the Pan African Coalition for Transformation (PACT), Mr Eric Saforo, has called on the government and other relevant stakeholders to reform the teacher training curriculum to ensure teachers have the right competencies and pedagogical know-how to improve learning outcomes for young people.

For him, teachers must be better equipped, particularly in ICT areas so as to enable them to enhance their teaching skills and delivery.

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He said considering the nature of the Fourth Revolution, the government ought to prioritise digital skills for both students and teachers.

Mr Saforo was making a presentation on the findings on some studies that the YES-PACT project has conducted in its operative areas in Africa in Accra last week at the premises of the Youth and Transformation in Africa (YOTA).

Background

The YES Chapter of PACT brings together key stakeholders concerned with policy development and implementation around issues of youth employment, gender, education, and the labour market.

It is active in seven countries – Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Ethiopia, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, and Uganda – and is anchored on two key research pieces developed by the African Center for Economic Transformation (ACET).

The first study maps progress in strengthening secondary education systems to deliver a workforce prepared for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) while the second study, “Barriers to women’s employment in the future world of work in Ghana and Senegal” identifies creative working policy options aimed at improving secondary education, skills development, and employment prospects for young women.

The PACT is a platform for governments and local policymakers to gain information and support from key stakeholders, such as the private sector and civil society, as they design and implement innovative policies related to economic transformation.

It was formed to practically translate the concepts of diversification, export, productivity, technological advancement, and human well-being into a practical policy agenda and to address the challenges of industrialisation facing African counties.

ICT Education

In his presentation, Mr Saforo explained that “ICT literacy should be among the qualifications for teachers, along with mandatory ICT training every 2-3 years,” adding “This means teachers and students must have access to working computers, projectors, internet, and TVET tools.”

For him, ICT skills should be prioritised in schools, particularly in Senior High Schools and Technical and Vocational Training institutions.

He called for an update of the learning materials used for secondary and TVET education, including working computers, projectors, internet, and TVET tools.

Additionally, Mr Saforo, called on the government to foster greater cooperation between secondary schools and the private sector by engaging the industry to advise on curriculum design and review.

“Harmonise the organisations that provide education by bringing together the various ministries and agencies involved in managing the education system,” he noted.

Unemployment

To help address unemployment, he said, there was the need to encourage TVET as an alternative pathway to employment, saying “Give greater attention and support to non-formal and informal training providers, including increased access to programmes such as the Ghana TVET Voucher Project.”

Mr Saforo suggested the need to embark on a multimedia public information programme to boost the image of the TVET sector so that it is not only perceived as a route for academically poor students.

He said African secondary education systems are failing to prepare young people for current and future jobs, pointing out that only few students have the opportunity for internships and formal apprenticeships, hence denying many secondary school students the needed skills required to secure jobs after school.

He expressed the worry that “formal career guidance is lacking in many schools, with very few trained counselors.”

The launch

Touching on the essence of the soft launch, Mr Safor said the purpose was to generate awareness of the existence of the YES-PACT project, as well as to ignite discussions about the policy formulation and implementation vacuum around education.

In Ghana, he said, the YOTA was leading the initiative, adding the YES-PACT programme would operate as an extensive knowledge-sharing network and collaborative effort, offering mutual support and motivation for designing and implementing transformation strategies to address youth unemployment and skills deficit.

Mr Saforo said the YES-PACT Chapter is expected to enable countries respond effectively to rising youth unemployment rates and to address the skills mismatch problem by providing a platform to share best practices and experiences regarding policy uptake and reforms based on research recommendations.

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