UNESCO-China project advances ICT in teacher training in 10 African countries

China announced an extra USD4 million in funds to advance the UNESCO-China-Funds-in-Trust (CFIT) Information and Communication Technology in teacher training project, at a meeting at UNESCO Headquarters, Paris on April 19-20, 2016.

The meeting, “Harnessing Technology for Quality Teacher Training in Africa”, addressed the achievements and lessons learned in the first three project countries: Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, and Namibia, reviewed progress in Congo, DR Congo, Liberia, Tanzania, and Uganda, and announced two new beneficiary countries, Togo and Zambia.

The event was attended by Ministry of Education and teacher education institution representatives, the Permanent Delegations and National Commissions to UNESCO from the CFIT countries and China, external evaluators, and UNESCO staff.

In opening remarks Dr Charmaine Villet, Dean of Faculty of Education of the University of Namibia said on behalf of the three countries: “We are most grateful to have been a part of this great story; to have been granted the opportunity to transform diligence and hard work into project successes and achievements, and impact and progress, all towards the betterment of quality education in our countries.”

Assistant Director-General for Education, UNESCO, Mr Qian Tang said that over 70 training workshops have been organized benefiting over 3000 educators and more than 50 teacher-training modules or policy documents revised or developed as part of the project.

Explaining the success of the projects, the Secretary-General of the Chinese National Commission for UNESCO, Mr Du Yue, remarked that “the Chinese experience proved that the attractive classroom teaching can help improve learning outcomes of students, therefore, the quality of education raised.”

Ambassador of China to UNESCO, Ms Zhang Xiuqin added her assurances that the Chinese Permanent Delegation would continue to work closely with the Permanent Delegations of the CFIT countries to build on the success of the project.

Aligning country priorities with the Sustainable Development Goals

Given its success so far, the donor announced the extension of its contribution with the additional fund of USD4 million for the period 2017-2018 and the two new beneficiary countries – Togo and Zambia.

Success was due in part to strong ownership of the development and implementation by the beneficiary countries: the high engagement of relevant ministries and institutions; and the alignment with country priorities and the global SDGs.

The CFIT project was launched in 2012 following an agreement between the Director-General of UNESCO Ms Irina Bokova and the former President of China Mr Hu Jintao with USD8 million donated by the Chinese government for a four-year period finishing in 2016. The project is one of UNESCO’s initiatives to contribute to SDG4 (Quality and Inclusive Education) and SDG9 (Innovation).