Extra Ordinary Meeting of SADC Ministers Responsible for Higher Education and Training
An Extra-Ordinary Meeting of Ministers of Higher Education and Training was held on the 5th of June 2012 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Honourable Ministers from the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Swaziland, and Deputy Ministers from Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe attended the meeting. The Seychelles and Mauritius were represented by their Ambassadors to the Republic of South Africa, while Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, the United Republic of Tanzania were represented by Senior Officials. Also in attendance were representatives from the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA), African Development Bank and the Southern African Regional Universities Association (SARUA). The SADC Secretariat was represented by the Director for Social and Human Development and Special Programmes.
In his official opening remarks, Honourable Prof. Arlindo Chilundo, Vice Minister of Education, Government of the Republic of Mozambique reminded delegates that higher education is the cornerstone of innovation, socio-economic and human development of all nations. It should therefore be prioritized in SADC.
Ministers reviewed the situation of higher education and noted with concern that the region is experiencing very low levels of enrollment and participation when compared to other regions in Africa and globally. Investment in higher education falls far short of what is required to match the current and future demands for the predominantly young population of SADC. The leadership and management of higher education institutions are in many cases weak, while the quality of teachers and the education that is available does not always provide relevant and adequate knowledge and skills required for the labour market. As a result, many young people who complete secondary education do not proceed to higher education. Many of those who graduate fail to find jobs and are not always capable of initiating and growing their own entrepreneurial and business enterprises. It is clear that higher education is not adequately contributing to socio-economic development, improving the well-being of the majority poor citizens, and to realizing the regional integration aspirations of the people of SADC.