CAFOR and its partners are initiating and implementing a new project to enhance communication for development by training over 30,000 journalists, communication, and public relations officers in the ministries of education and civil society organizations in all five sub-regions of the African continent. The Project will also revise and update an existing Education Toolkit for journalists and communication specialists. Many members of CAFOR worked on developing and finalizing this Toolkit in 2010. CAFOR would furthermore promote information exchange and communication between partners. These are essential to achieving well-managed, efficient education systems and good quality education for all.
The education sector plays an incredibly complex, double role in country-led social and economic development and presents a challenge and a sustainable development opportunity. However, one of the significant obstacles to the success of the various reforms in education in Africa since the 1960s is the inability of governments to engage in meaningful dialogue with their partners (students, parents, teachers, communities, donor agencies, politicians, taxpayers, the business community, the media, and NGOs) and build a consensus around policies. A meeting point and a flow of information are essential for advancing education in Africa.
CAFOR would partner with the African Union Commission and universities and other training institutions in Africa and abroad to provide specialized training to communication officers in the ministries of education, civil society organizations, and journalists who cover education with the hope of:
- Developing technical skills for communicating in the ministries of education to promote dialogue and national consensus on education issues.
- Enhancing knowledge and understanding of education issues and improving their treatment by the media.
- Ensuring knowledge of the need for partnership and cooperation between communication officers, journalists, and other stakeholders.
African journalists and communication experts are pivotal in information analysis and dissemination to promote dialogue among all stakeholders. CAFOR will prepare and train a cross-section of journalists and communication specialists across the continent to better understand the salient issues and acquire top journalistic skills that would allow them to cover the African stories objectively and coherently. This training would build media practitioners’ capacity, strengthen their abilities, enhance their professional performance, and promote effective communication that would collaborate with ministries, local authorities, communities, and cooperating partners. The training and coverage of special education events would also enable journalists to report on issues that would promote dialogue and debate and encourage partnerships to strengthen education finance, bringing different governmental partners and civil society together – including education and finance ministries, local government institutions, and development partners, end even ensuring that the contributions of the latter are predictable.
CAFOR and its partners will revise and update a tool kit for widespread use in training media practitioners and other relevant professionals in advocacy and communication in African countries to create an enabling policy environment and instruments through national or sectoral communication strategies, including those for education. This training will enable media practitioners to:
- Know and understand the critical issues on education and economic progress in Africa.
- Appreciate the need for comprehensive and systematic coverage of education issues in the context of the Global Sustainable Development Goals, Agenda 2063, the Science, Technology, and Innovations Strategy for Africa (STISA 2024), the Continental Education Strategy for Africa (CESA 16-25), the Continental Strategy for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), as well as other crucial programs of educational reform on the African continent.
- Understand the role of partners in education development and their contribution to it.
- Identify the sources of information on education issues and how to gather information quickly.
- Write articles or produce radio, television, and internet programs on education that are informative and interesting.
- Justify the need for creating an education desk in media organizations throughout the continent.
- Use the ICTs to access educational information.
The Project would also empower two hundred million youths with basic knowledge of science, technology and innovation, and other relevant skills for jobs and entrepreneurship across the continent. Excellence and fairness in media reporting for African education and development could enable the policy, curriculum, and legal framework for advancing education and development targeting young people. This merit could enable up to one million African youths to be active in employment in small to medium-scale businesses. Finally, a change in mindsets could lead to quality and equity in youth education and skills (especially in science, technology, and innovation) programs.
CAFOR will implement this project for four years at USD 4.8 million.
As this project will equip journalists and other media practitioners with invaluable skills for reporting on and analyzing issues about education and development across the continent, CAFOR urges all partners and stakeholders to invest more and better in education.
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