ECOWAS committees advocate for harmonization of Academic Curriculum

ECOWAS committees advocate for harmonization of Academic Curriculum
July 22 14:34 2020 Print This Article

By Martin Odiete, Abuja

The Joint Committee meeting of the Committees on Education, Science and Culture and the Committee on Communication and ICT of the ECOWAS Parliament has proposed for the development of modalities to harmonize academic degrees, curriculum and certificate equivalence in West Africa due to the growing internalization of education and culture in the region.

 Speaking on behalf of the committees on the floor of the 2nd Extraordinary session of the ECOWAS Parliament held virtually on Wednesday, Mrs. Rachel Ogbe, Principal Programme Officer on Education of the ECOWAS Commission, said that they seek to achieve a number of specific objectives, the first being to develop regional criteria for the harmonization of pre-university qualifications, in particular the period of study, content of curricula, qualification assessment and other prerequisites for the establishment of equivalence of Member States’ accreditation systems.

This according to her presentation will involve defining benchmarks/criteria to match university and professional qualifications in the region, draw up a list of courses in Member States’ universities as well as admission requirements, number of years of study, required credits and certificates.

Other specific objectives contained in her presentation will be to clarify the classification of academic qualifications (certificate, diploma, bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate, etc.) in Member States and develop a road-map for the implementation of the ECOWAS Convention on equivalence of certificates.

Recalling, She said, “Recognition of certificates and their equivalence is a priority in a Community such as ECOWAS where all citizens are expected to benefit fully from free movement as well as right of residence and establishment outside their countries of origin.

“To enable ECOWAS attain this objective, the Convention on recognition and equivalence of degrees, diplomas, certificates and other qualifications in Member States was adopted by the Authority of Heads of State and Government in January 2013 in Dakar, Senegal, and we afterward have meetings with educational experts to looking into the possibility.

“The convention was adopted as an annex to the protocol on education and training to enable the region’s citizens derive greater benefits from education in the ECOWAS region”.

Continuing she added that “Key objectives of the regional convention are promoting sub-regional cooperation between ECOWAS Member States in the assessment and recognition of certificates, achieving greater collaboration between the people and fostering cooperation in the use of human resources.

The other objectives of the convention are to facilitate skills exchange, further studies and implement protocols on education, training and other sectors within the Community as well as achieve greater cooperation in the use of human resources to promote an all-round development and reduce brain drain. Her presentation however followed reactions by members of the committee. Hon. Aime Assine, (Senegal) who chaired the meeting, as well as Hon. Lynda Ikpeazu (Nigeria), Hon. Sawani Karimou (Niger), among other MPs seeking further clarification on how the commission seeks to harmonize language, bearing in mind that there are currently 3 official languages (English, French, Portuguese) in the region, also seek to know how the curriculum will be harmonized.

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