An Overview of SADC and the Protocol on Education and Training
1. An Overview of SADC
1.1 The objective of SADC is to build a community of politically stable and economically strong nations able to successfully compete in the world marketplace. Its goal is to move towards deeper regional cooperation, beyond mere coordination of development projects and economies of member States, to integrating the economies and societies of member States into a single whole. Specifically, the objectives and principles of SADC, as stated in the Treaty, include the following:
To achieve development and economic growth, alleviate poverty, enhance the standard and quality of life of the peoples of Southern Africa and support the socially disadvantaged through regional integration;
To evolve common political values, systems and institutions
To promote self-sustaining development on the basis of collective self-reliance, and the independence of member States;
To achieve complementarity between national and regional strategies and programmes; and
To strengthen and consolidate the long-standing historical, social and cultural affinities and links among the peoples of the Region.
The principles of SADC include sovereign equality of member States, human rights, democracy and the rule of law, equity, balance and mutual benefit.
1.2 Some of the major strategies for achieving these objectives are:
Harmonisation of political and economic policies and plans of member States;
Promoting the development of human resources;
Improving economic management and performance through regional co-operation;
Promoting the development, transfer and mastery of technology;
Developing and implementing policies aimed at the progressive elimination of obstacles to the free movement of capital and labour, goods and services, and of the people of the Region generally, among member States; and
Creating appropriate institutions and mechanisms for the mobilisation of requisite resources for the implementation of programmes and operations of SADC and its institutions.
1.3 The Treaty clearly spells out areas in which member states shall cooperate to foster regional development and integration, viz:
food security, land and agriculture
infrastructure and services
industry, trade, investment and finance
human resources development, science and technology
natural resources and environment
social welfare, information and culture
politics, diplomacy, international relations, peace and security
A number of sectors have since been established to co-ordinate regional co-operation in these areas. Currently, there are twenty-two Sectors. Swaziland was tasked with co-ordinating Human Resources Development.
2. SADC Institutions and Operational Mechanisms
2.1 The main institutions of SADC are the Summit, the Council of Ministers, the Sectoral Committees of Ministers, Sectoral Contact Points, Standing Committee of Senior Officials, SADC Secretariat, and Sector Co-ordinating Units.
2.2 From inception, SADC adopted a decentralised structure of managing the integration agenda. Each member State is allocated responsibility to co-ordinate at least one sector. The rationale for this system was that it would promote a sense of ownership and equal burden-sharing among the member States.
3.1 Protocols are key instruments in regional integration and community building aimed at giving practical effect to the overall objectives of the Organisation. The Treaty states that in each area of co-operation, Protocols should be developed which shall "spell out the objectives and scope of, and institutional mechanisms for, co-operation and integration."
3.2 All SADC Sectors are at various stages in the development of Protocols. Protocol development requires submission to Summit for signing by Heads of State, after which the Protocol goes to member states’ parliamentary structures for ratification. After ratification, the Protocol enters into legal force and becomes part of the Treaty.
4. Human Resources Development (HRD) Sector
4.1 The HRD Sector is one of the key sectors necessary for socio-economic development to ensue. The development of human capital is fundamental in the building of technical, research and innovative capacity to lead the region towards industrialisation. The SADC region lacks the technical, innovative and research skills to transform the region from traditional economies towards competitive and market oriented economies. The HRD Sector was established to coordinate and develop the requisite pool of human capital that will drive the development and integration process of the SADC region.
4.2 The scope and activities of the HRD Sector are guided by the Protocol on Education and Training. The Protocol is a legal framework for regional co-operation in Education and Training. It was developed in 1997 and signed by eleven SADC Heads of States or Government. It entered into force on the 31 July 2000 following ratification by nine countries namely; Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.
4.3 The development of the Protocol stemmed from the recognition of the importance of education and training in achieving equitable regional development and integration. More importantly, it was in recognition that no SADC Member State can alone offer the full range of required world quality education and training programmes, at affordable costs and on a sustainable basis. In addition, programmes of human resource development, utilisation and increased productivity have both national and regional dimensions. Thus concerted co-operative efforts was necessary in order to adequately equip the region with necessary skilled personnel to effectively compete in the global economy of the 21st century and beyond. However, a concerted effort can only be effected through the implementation of co-ordinated comprehensive and integrated programmes of education and training that address the needs of the region.
5. Protocol on Education and Training
5.1 The overall objective is to achieve the equivalence, harmonisation and standardisation of the education and training systems.
5.2 It is guided by the overall principles of SADC, which include among others, the recognition of the equality of all Member States, as well as equitable participation, balance and mutual benefit in regional co-operation.
5.3 The specific objectives of the regional co-operation in Education and training are those which progressively move the region towards equivalence, harmonisation and eventual standardisation of education and training systems. They include the following:
to develop and implement a common system of regular collection and reporting of information by member States about the current status and future demand and supply, and the priority areas for provision of education and training in the Region;
to establish mechanisms and institutional arrangements that enable Member States to pool their resources to effectively and efficiently produce the required professional, technical, research and managerial personnel to plan and manage the development process in general and across all sectors in the Region;
to promote and co-ordinate the formulation and implementation of comparable and appropriate policies, strategies and systems of education and training in Member States;
to develop and implement policies and strategies that promote the participation and contribution of the private sector, non-governmental organisations and other key stakeholders in the provision of education and training;
to promote and co-ordinate the formulation and implementation of policies, strategies and programmes for the promotion and application of science and technology, including modern information technology and research and development in the Region;
to work towards the reduction and eventual elimination of constraints to better and freer access, by citizens of Member States, to good quality education and training opportunities within the Region;
to work towards the relaxation and eventual elimination of immigration formalities in order to facilitate freer movement of students and staff within the Region for the specific purpose of study, teaching, research and any other pursuits relating to education and training;
to promote policies for creation of an enabling environment with appropriate incentives based on meritorious performance, for educated and trained persons to effectively apply and utilise their knowledge and skills for the general development of Member States and the Region;
to promote the learning of English and Portuguese as the working languages of the Region;
5.4 The objectives are expected to be implemented within a period of twenty years from the date of entry into force of the Protocol on Education and Training.
5.5 Whilst these are the main objectives for regional co-operation, it is recognised that education and training will largely remain the responsibility of each member State. This is because education and training involves a very large number of pupils, students, trainees and teachers for which huge resources are required. Regional co-operation will therefore focus on those critical issues of maximum impact, for select target groups, which can benefit from economies of scale and specialisation and which have a multiplier effect.
6. Areas of Co-operation
6.1 There are nine areas of co-operation namely, policy, basic education, intermediate education and training, higher education and training, research and development, lifelong education and training and publishing and library resources. Below is a brief summary of the provisions in each area of co-operation as outlined above.
6.2 Co-operation in policy for education and training:
6.2.1 It is recognised that whilst each member State currently has its own policies for Education and Training, regional co-operation is desirable and can be implemented more effectively and can be expanded to cover more areas through development, formulation and implementation of coherent, comparable, harmonised and eventually, standardised policy on education and training in the region. Policy issues includes the following:
provision and access to education and training
Increasing equitable access
relevance of education and training
rationalising admission requirement and accreditation of qualification
joint development and production of teaching and learning materials.
6.3 Co-operation in Basic education:
6.3.1 The importance of basic education is recognised, as it is the foundation upon which all other levels of education and training is built and for the fundamental contribution it makes towards the reduction of illiteracy. Hence member States agree to provide compulsory basic education for at least nine years of schooling.
6.3.2 Member States also agree that whilst basic education will remain largely being the responsibility of each member State, co-operation is possible in those areas that will promote the growth of the Community such as in joint production of teaching and learning materials and development and implementation of curricula which would move the education systems towards comparability, harmonisation and eventual standardisation.
6.3.3 The Protocol calls for the introduction into the curricula of primary and secondary education, of material on all SADC countries in order to promote consciousness in the youth about the community. In addition, it calls for the preferential treatment of disadvantaged groups within member States, in admission to basic education in order to increase and balance access to education and training.
6.4 Co-operation in Higher Education and Training
6.4.1 Member States agree that it is this level of education and training which includes undergraduates and postgraduate studies, that most readily lends itself to regional co-operation because no single state is financially capable of mounting all the programmes which are needed to impart the necessary high level skills for development. The main aim is to promote student and staff mobility within the region and most importantly, the need to devise appropriate mechanisms to facilitate access and credit transfer from one high level institution or university to another within the region.
6.4.2 Member States recognise that the major players at this level are Universities and other higher education and training institutions. They also recognise the autonomy, which these types of high level institutions enjoy. They therefore only urge and encourage these institutions in the region to collaborate and work together.
6.5 Co-operation in Research and Development:
6.5.1 Research and development is another critical area where collaboration and co-operation is necessary for development of the region. Member States acknowledge the relevance of both basic and applied research for development but emphasise that it must be in line with national and regional needs and requirements. Because of the complexity and cost of research, it is envisaged that Centres of Excellence may be established in critical areas of research in order to maximize the use of scarce resources and expensive research facilities. It is also recognised that research can be University based or can take place in non-University Research Institutes.
6.5.2 To that end therefore, Universities are urged to co-operate with non-University Research Institutes and for both types of institutes to forge links with industry and the private and other relevant sectors.
6.6 Co-operation in Long life Education and Training:
6.6.1 Life long education, which includes distance, and adult education, short-term courses, seminars and workshops, is based on the assertion that one must aspire to learn all throughout one’s life. This is true whether it is for the purpose of earning an award, for pleasure or for sharpening one’s skills at the work place without necessarily earning a qualification.
6.6.2 Member States recognise that opportunities should be created for life-long education and thus help to establish the concept of learning societies. Life-long education helps to raise the literacy and numeracy levels of society. This is a necessary pre-requisite for sustainable development and therefore contributes to raising the general welfare of the society.
6.6.3 Life-long education can also reduce inequalities in access to education. It is cheaper, can be accessible under different settings and through various methods of delivery, can be delivered across vast distances, thus reaching many people at many locations including their homes. Member States therefore agree to establish a SADC Distance Education Centre, which will contribute towards improving and strengthening distance education and training system in the region, through collaborative efforts.
6.7 Co-operation in Publishing and Library resources
6.7.1 Member States recognise that not all of them are able to set up local presses and publishing houses because of the high cost of such ventures. Member States agree therefore that co-operation must be encouraged in this area, in order to maximise the economies of scale that can be realised through co-operation and to thereby also stimulate research and publication in the region.
6.7.2 In relation to libraries, member States recognise that to a large extent, quality education is dependent on good libraries and therefore agree to make resources available to enable national and university libraries to be viable sources of learning, teaching and research materials.
6.8 Training Fund:
6.8.1 Member States realised early that human capital investment would play a critical role in promoting socio-economic development within SADC. However, they were also awake to the fact that they did not have sufficient financial and infrastructural resources to train citizens of the Community in the priority training areas. Hence, they proposed the establishment of a regional training fund to which all member States would jointly contribute funds.
6.8.2 Although the idea of the training fund has been set aside at the moment, it has not been cast out. Other more critical alternatives to the fund, such as the SADC Student and Staff Exchange Programme are being currently being pursued and it hoped the experience gained from such programmes will be useful when the time comes to finally embark on the training fund. Activities of the fund and other regional training resource mobilisation efforts are the main responsibility of the SADC Technical Committee on Scholarships and Training Awards.
6.9 Co-operation in Intermediate Education and Training (Certificate and Diploma levels)
6.9.1 Intermediate education and training is that level that skills are acquired by middle level personnel who are essential for work in the various sectors of the economy. Here also, the emphasis is to co-operate regionally in those areas that will promote the growth of the Community. Special attention is on the need to move education and training systems towards equivalent, harmonised and eventually, standardised curricula and certification.
6.9.2 The main emphasis for regional co-operation at this level focuses on teacher education and vocational education and technical training. The Protocol adopted a principle that curriculum development is a cross cutting issue and therefore to be addressed by all the technical committees of the different levels of education
6.9.3 Specifically, the Protocol in Article 6 promotes co-operation in the following the following:
Curriculum design and development to ensure high quality and relevant teacher education teacher education and to move the teacher education systems towards comparability and harmonisation.
joint development, provision and exchange of education materials to improve and sustain the quality and relevance of teacher education
exchange of experiences, ideas and information to broaden the knowledge base and skills of curriculum developers, teacher educators and education managers;
development of national examinations and accreditation systems to move teacher education systems towards equivalent, harmonised and eventually standardised certification;
joint development of continuing teacher education to improve subject knowledge, pedagogical skills and effective management of schools;
encouragement and support of the creation of regional professional associations to enable curriculum developers, teachers and teacher educators to exchange views, ideas and experiences on their disciplines.
VOCATIONAL EDUCATION AND TECHNCIAL TRAINING
Curriculum design and development to ensure high quality and relevant vocational education and technical training and to move the vocational education and technical training systems towards comparability and harmonisation;
Joint development, provision and exchange of vocational education and technical training materials to improve an sustain the quality and relevance of vocational education and technical training;
Exchange of experiences, ideas and information to broaden the knowledge base of vocational educators and technical trainers;
Development of national examinations and accreditation systems to move vocational education and technical training systems towards harmonised, equivalent and eventually standardised certification;
Encouragement and support of the creation of regional professional associations to enable curriculum developers, teachers and trainers in vocational education and technical training to exchange views, ideas and experiences on their disciplines;
Development and support for the incorporation of entrepreneurship development in vocational education and training systems.
Establishment of Centre of Specialisation for teacher education and TVET in specialised fields. The Member States will determine the areas from time to time.
7. Arrangements for Implementation
7.1 The major strategy for implementing the Protocol is the use of Technical Committees in the various areas of cooperation made up of experts in that particular area, the major function of the technical committees is to implement the provisions of the Protocol in that area.
7.2 Seven Technical Committees are provided and these are for Basic Education, Intermediate Education and Training, Higher Education and Training and Research and Development, Life-long education and training, Scholarship and Training Awards, Certification and Accreditation, and Distance Education. However, the Protocol through Article 11 4(b) provides for the establishment of additional Technical Committees, where necessary. Currently, five of these are operational and these are on Basic Education, Intermediate Education and Training, Distance Education, Certification and Accreditation and Scholarship and Training Awards. A Technical Committee on Special Needs Education was established last year. Plans to establish the Technical Committees on Life-long Education and Training and Higher Education and Training, Research and Development are also at an advanced stage.
7.3 The composition of the Technical Committee on Intermediate Education and Training therefore includes representatives from vocational education and technical training, teacher education, teacher organisation, private sector and student organisation.
SADC HRD SECTOR
P.O. Box 5873
Tel: 00268 4046344/5
Fax: 00268 4046407
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