Participation of the Director General of WAI in the Third Strategic Dialogue of the Pedro PIRES Institute for Leadership Praia, 14 May 2016

Podium dialogo estrategicoFollowing the kind invitation of the Pedro PIRES Institute for Leadership, the Director General of the West Africa Institute (WAI) took part in the Third Strategic Dialogue on the theme «Which Human Capital for which Development?»

The event was marked by the opening speech by His Excellency Ulisses Correia e Silva, Prime Minister of the Republic of Cabo Verde. In his address, the Prime Minister emphasized the need to link education to development through innovative education methods as for instance the pedagogical integration of ICTs (Information and Communication Technologies), as well as the modernization of school and university infrastructures and equipment.

The second high spot of the opening ceremony was the speech of His Excellency Pedro Pires, President and Promoter of the Institute for Leadership. Former President of the Republic and Holder of the prestigious Mo Ibrahim Prize, Mr. Pedro Pires welcomed the enthusiasm generated by the Dialogue Sessions from the very beginning and pointed out the presence of panelists coming from around the world.

The panel 1 in which Prof. Traoré intervened, was entitled «Education and Development: How to Promote a Virtuous Circle?» The session was moderated by Dr. Filomena Martins, former Minister of Education of Cabo Verde.

Prof. Traoré introduced the topic in commenting on the following quotes emphasizing the origin almost as old as humanity and the universal character of education:

«A good education is the source of all virtues.» Quote from Plutarch (46 - 125)
In: The education of children. (arround 46 – to 125 afterJ.-C.)

«Education is more than a job, it's a mission, which is to help each person to recognize what is irreplaceable and unique in him/her, so that he/she may grow and flourish.» His holiness Pope John Paul II (1920-2005).

«The only way out of the violence is to be aware of repulsion, exclusion, hate and contempt mechanisms, in order to reduce them to nothing through education of the child relayed by all.» Françoise Héritier, Anthropologist, Ethnologist, Feminist, Female Policy Maker and Scientist (1933 -)

«Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.» Nelson Mandela (1918-2013)

«Education is one of the most powerful tools that exist to reduce poverty and inequality and lays a foundation for sustained economic growth.» World Bank.

 Prof. Traoré then proposed definitions for the key words related to the theme of the panel including: Education - Development - Virtuous Circle priorexplaining the Education 2030 Framework for Action stating to “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” and furthermore:

  • Education is a fundamental human right which paves the way for the exercise of other rights.
  •  Education is a public good, of which the State is the guarantor.
  •  Gender equality is inseparable from the right to education for all.

 Answering to the cardinal question of the panel, the Director General of WAI listed five (5) key elements capable of promoting a virtuous circle between education and development, namely :


 1. Curriculum

The curriculum must take into account the knowledge provided by history and the affirmation of the cultural identity. Moreover, most of sub-Saharan Africa being active in the agriculture level, the curriculum at the primary school should be directed towards social life with a special focus on the rural sector.
At the secondary level, the curriculum should be focused on the development of any ability and manual and /or intellectual capacity that can be used to foster the social and economic development.
Finally, at the university level, the challenges must be linked to the imperative of forming a youth capable of confronting the national socio-economic difficulties with confidence and with the ability to innovate local technologies for the development of small and medium companies, and able to transform local materials into finished and helpful products.


 2. Strategic Planning

Any educational system must be strategically planned in order to suit the needs of the nation and make it effective. The identification of needs, formulation of objectives, data collection and organization of human, material and financeare essential to achieving the goals of a competitive and inclusive education. To reach the goals of education for development, it is of prime importance that a significant budget is available at national level, because the funding of education is first of all a national responsibility. It is also crucial that schools and universities have adequate infrastructures, are well equipped, have well-trained teachers and implement improved teaching strategies or methods. Strategic planning must take into account the place of private education in educational demand.


3. Promotion of STEM and ICT

According to Prof. Traoré, to promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), means to strengthen scientific culture at all levels of education, to demystify science to democratize the mode of transmission of knowledge. She gave the example of ECOWAS Science, Technology and Innovation Policy (ECOPOST) that proposes to stimulate by 2017 the emergence of a West African scientific community able to compete and communicate with the world's best scientific teams in various fields.


4. Involvement of Parents

It has been scientifically proven that the more parents are educated, the more they are involved in the education of children. It is therefore a necessity to involve parents qualitatively and quantitatively, through their association or grouping Committees, in order to improve the schooling rate of children and also the school management.


5. Decentralization and Good Governance

To achieve the goals of inclusive and quality education, it is imperative to address the decentralization of education systems. In the same vein, the promotion of good governance, democracy and transparency within the education system are essential elements.


6. Ethic and Deontology

Prof. Traoré finally raised the issue of ethic and deontology. In her opinion, teacher training must necessarily take into account the values ​​and priorities related to moral principles in order to provide pupils and students with a humanistic vision.

The three panelists responded to the overall satisfaction the questions posed by a high level audience.

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