EAC Sectoral Council on Education, Science and Technology, Culture and Sports (SCESTCS) adopts roadmap for implementation of Kiswahili and French as Official Languages of the Community
East African Community Headquarters, Arusha, Tanzania, 26th April, 2022: The 17th Meeting of the Sectoral Council on Education, Science and Technology, Culture and Sports (SCESTCS) has just been concluded in Dar es Salaam Tanzania.
The Sectoral Council considered matters of Education and Training; Culture and Sports; East African Kiswahili Commission (EAKC); the Inter- University Council for East Africa (IUCEA) and the East African Science and Technology Commission (EASTECO).
In her opening remarks, the Chairperson of the meeting, Dr. Sarah Ruto, the Chief Administrative Secretary at the Ministry of Education, Kenya, commended the Secretariat for the achievements so far made in the Sector.
Dr. Ruto said that Education, Science and Technology were key to the region’s development, adding that there was still much more to be done especially in skilling the youths with the required skills and competencies.
Among the several matters considered, by the Sectoral Council were the Roadmaps for Implementation of Kiswahili and French as Official Languages of the Community. This was part of implementation of the directive of the 21st Summit of EAC Heads of State that adopted Kiswahili and French as Official Languages of the EAC.
The Sectoral Council urged the Secretariat to expeditiously implement these roadmaps and undertake necessary capacity building and other requirements to facilitate the use of these languages in official business of the Community. The Sectoral Council further adopted the UNESCO declaration of 7th July as World Kiswahili Language Day and directed the EAC Secretariat to include it in the calendar of activities as an annual EAC event. The Sectoral Council approved the inaugural EAC World Kiswahili Language Day to be celebrated in Zanzibar on 7th July 2022 under the coordination of the East African Kiswahili Commission.
The Sectoral Council approved the winners of the 2021 EAC Essay Writing Competition and further approved their presentation for awards by the Summit. It emphasized on the urgency to finalize Annex VII of the Common Market Protocol on Mutual Recognition of Academic and Professional Qualifications (MRAs) to fast-track mobility of professionals and services in the Community. Also approved by the Sectoral Council was the EAC Regional Bio-Economy Strategy that was presented by EASTECO.
The Sectoral further noted the progress being made in the harmonization of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) through the Secretariat and IUCEA under the World Bank supported EASTRIP Project. The Sectoral Council noted the achievements of the EAC Regional Centres of Excellence (ACE II Project) and achievements made within the EAC-KFW Scholarships program that has led to more young East Africans benefiting from the scholarship and has enhanced mobility of students within the Community. The Ministers welcomed the proposed East African Students mobility scheme and directed the Secretariat to develop the modalities for sustainability of the EAC Scholarship Programs.
They emphasized the urgency to finalize the TVET Harmonization and finalization of the Regional Qualifications Frameworks and Occupational Standards for TVET. The Ministers approved that the East African Art and Culture Festivals, popularly known as JAMAFEST be held in Bujumbura, Burundi from 4th -12th September 2022 while the 2nd Edition of the EAC Games would be held in Kigali, Rwanda between August and November 2023.
In his remarks, the EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of the Productive and Social Sectors, Hon. Christophe Bazivamo, said that the Community cannot attain her desired goals without deliberate investments and focus on these key areas.
Hon. Bazivamo informed the delegates of the admission of the Democratic Republic of Congo to the EAC and the opportunities presented by this development.
The Sectoral Council that was held in a hybrid format was attended by the respective Ministers from the Partner States. In addition to Dr. Sarah Ruto representing Kenya, the Republic of Burundi was represented by Prof. Francois Havyarimana, Minister for National Education and Scientific Research; the United Republic of Tanzania had Prof. Adolf Mkenda, Minister for Education, Science and Technology; Hon. Innocent Bashugwa-Ministry of President Office, Regional Administration and Local Government; Hon. Pauline Gekul, Minister for Culture, Arts and Sports and Hon. Tabia Mwita Maulid, Minister for Information, Youth,Culture and Sports, Zanzibar.
The Republic of Rwanda was represented by Dr. Valentine Uwamariya, Minister for Education while the Republic of Uganda was represented by Hon.Gidudu Dominic Mafabi, Minister of State for Gender, Labour and Social Development.
The Republic of South Sudan was represented Hon. Albino Bol Dhieu, Minister for Youth and Sports. The Sectoral Council commended the Secretariat for the efforts that had been made in the implementation of the outstanding decisions and directives of the Council and Summit and urged the Secretariat to fast-track the implementation of the few outstanding ones.
The Ministers took a moment of silence in honour of President Mwai Kibaki, former president of Kenya who had just passed on. They acknowledged the role that President Kibaki played in the development of the EAC as vibrant regional economic community.
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The East African Community (EAC) is a regional intergovernmental organisation of six Partner States, comprising Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda, with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.
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