Rwandan Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente on Monday called for continuous investment in education and skills development in order to produce a highly educated labour force necessary for transforming Africa’s economies.
He was opening a three-day 5th Regional Forum for the Partnership for skills in Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology (PASET) in the capital Kigali.
The forum drew policy makers, technical experts and educators from sub- Saharan African nations to discuss how to skill up African youth for the upcoming digital age.
It focuses on the fourth industrial revolution and digital economy, according to organizers.
“A highly educated labor force is the significant catalyst for transforming Africa’s economies and allowing them to benefit from a demographic dividend. Large and continuous investment in education and skills development is required for the labor force,” the premier said.
He mentioned the need for higher learning institutions on the continent to inculcate digital literacy, advanced skills and technical, vocational education and training among learners, which he said Africa needs to be able to benefit from the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
The ultimate goal is to build all required skills to produce relevant technologies for Africa’s innovators, entrepreneurs and future leaders, he said.
One of the key principles of Africa’s education strategy, according to the premier is to consider quality and relevant education, training and research as core for technological innovation and entrepreneurship.
The premier urged African countries to consider mathematics as an important tool that will help students to develop their analytical thinking.
According to the premier, mechanisms should be in place to ensure that pupils who complete their primary schools are well equipped with relevant basic numeracy skills while those who complete their secondary schools have a minimum proficiency in Mathematics.
Prof George Magoha, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Education and PASET chair of governing council, said African youth should be empowered to do what they aspire to.
Jaime Saavedra, senior director of World Bank Global Practice, called for creation of high quality and transformational systems for education to provide African youth with more opportunities.
PASET is an Africa-led initiative meant to strengthen the science, technology and engineering capability in sub-Saharan Africa to further its socio-economic transformation.
The PASET forums serve as platform to incubate new regional initiatives, expand existing programs and initiate new partnerships between Sub-Saharan governments and partners.