24 May 2022 | Story Leonie Bolleurs | Photo Supplied
Dr maria Madiope and and Dr Justina Dugbazah
Dr Marinkie Madiope, the Campus Principal of the South Campus, recently received an award from Dr Justina Dugbazah (right), the Senior Programme Education and Social Development Coordinator of the African Union Panel on Emerging Technologies.

Dr Marinkie Madiope, the Campus Principal of the University of the Free State (UFS) South Campus, recently received an award from Dr Justina Dugbazah, the Senior Programme Education and Social Development Coordinator of the African Union Panel on Emerging Technologies’ Calestus Juma Executive Dialogue (APET-CJED) programme

Dr Madiope was recognised for the work she is doing in Africa through the CJED. She collected the award during CJED’s 6th Dialogue, in the presence of more than 20 African member states. 

Fit-for-purpose policies and curricula

The focus of this event, which took place in Dakar, Senegal, was on effectively harnessing educational innovations and technologies for formal and non-formal teaching and learning in Africa.

During the dialogue, the UFS was also appreciated for its visibility and impact on the African continent and was recognised as a prospective partner and collaborator on different science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) projects, which will be discussed and confirmed later in May 2022.

Dr Madiope, the Vice-President of the Technical Working Group (TWG) of the CJED, also gave a presentation at the dialogue, speaking about the education policy implementation curriculum review in Africa. Speaking from a South African context, she highlighted the different education policies and shared her views on how the relevant role players on the continent can collaborate to ensure that policies and curricula are designed and developed fit for purpose. 

Some of the recommendations were to contextualise education, science, technology and innovation policies, and teaching methods to the African context, and have science subjects translated into local languages for easy understanding and interpretation. It was also recommended to incentivise STEM education as to encourage girl participation in STEM projects. 

In the discussion following the dialogue presentation, member states also recommended that the funding set aside for education be increased to 25% of countries’ national budget.

Supporting the development of scarce skills

With AUDA-NEPAD’s support for skills development programmes that promotes the occupational prospects of young Africans, Dr Madiope’s presentation, which highlighted some of the scarce skills on the continent, was welcomed. According to her, the Media, Information and Communication Technologies Sector Education and Training Authority (MICTSETA) has identified a number of scarce skills on the continent. These skills, aligning with the Fourth Industrial Revolution, include artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, cloud computing, data science, software development, internet of things, robotic processing automation, design thinking, and quality engineering. The university are planning to get involved in developing the skills of the youth on the African continent in terms of three-dimensional printing, drone manufacturing, and drone awareness.

• CJED is supported by APET, the African Union Development Agency, and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (AUDA-NEPAD) strategic initiative. APET advises the African Union and member states on harnessing emerging technologies for economic development, and AUDA-NEPAD provides a platform to promote inter-country and inter-regional learning and knowledge exchange on science, innovation, and emerging technologies across Africa.

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