Abidjan, 9th November 2017 – African youth successfully affirmed their support to the Secondary Education in Africa Today (SEAT) project - a joint initiative by the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) and the MasterCard Foundation (MCF) – and provided key feedback, experiences and recommandations on the project’s approach, focus and strategy. ADEA and MCF proactively brought together fifteen (15) youth, aged between 19 and 27 years, from West and North Africa: twelve (12) from Côte d’Ivoire and one (1) each from Guinea, Mauritania and Morocco for a short kick off consultation on the Secondary Education in Africa Today (SEAT) project. The meeting was held on October 11th, 2017 within the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) CCIA building in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.
This first of a series of consultative meetings was organized in the margins of the 4th African Union – European Union (AU-EU) Youth Summit that took place in Abidjan from 9th to 11th October 2017. ADEA had a chance to participate in the project marketplace, a session that shared projects undertaken and good practices recorded between Africa and Europe. Ms. Raky Gassama, ADEA’s Knowledge Management Officer gave a short presentation of the project to the 90 participants. This was followed by Ms. Aissatou Dosso, the Knowledge Management Consultant, who shared detailed information on the SEAT study project to the participants who expressed their key interests.
The objectives of the ADEA and MCF consultation were to: (i) capture the youth’s key areas and priorities concerning secondary education and to start engaging with them at the earliest stage; (ii) validate the strategy of the youth involvement process and (iii) obtain recommendations from the youth on the SEAT project and its outcomes. During the first part, the MCF representative, Ms. Ashley Collier, presented the project, its objectives and main outcomes, while the ADEA Knowledge Management Officer detailed the project’s methodology and process. During the second part, participants shared their emotions and souvenir of secondary education experiences through their own choice medium (words or pictures). These are some of the statements shared by participants:
“Due to the situation at the time in my country, I was forced to abandon my courses and change my educational pathway which led to different career choices and opportunities.” Frank, 23 years
“I was proud to be able to enter an education sector that is traditionally male-dominated. I was able to maintain motivation due to positive reinforcement from teachers and awards.” Madoussou, 21 years
This experience sharing provided an opportunuty for capturing the perspectives, priorities, challenges and academic trajectories of the youth. The youth were then divided into 3 groups to discuss, based on a short questionnaire, the critical aspects and perspectives around the quality of education, skills acquisition, classroom teaching and transfer of know-how.
The MCF SEAT project in which ADEA is collaborating is unique in the sense that it aims to really put the youth at the center by amplifying their voices and drawing the attention of policy makers not only to the existential problems in secondary education but also to the need to reform and integrate new innovative strategies at national level.
This initiative is in tandem with ADEA’s contribution to the empowerment of African countries to develop education and training systems that respond to the countries’ emergent needs and drive the continent’s agenda for sustainable socio economic transformation, and MCF’s mission to advance education and financial inclusion to catalyze prosperity in developing countries. Involving the youth as partners in designing the project strategy is crucial for the effectiveness and success of the outcomes of this research study. All participants expressed their great interest in continuing the conversation through a youth blog and WhatsApp group that the project intends to develop in the following weeks.