10th Meeting of BRICS Ministers of Education identifies priorities ahead of Heads of State Summit

Ministries for the Department of Basic Education (DBE) and the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), represented by Deputy Minister, Dr Reginah Mhaule and Minister, Dr Blade Nzimande, co-chaired the 10th Meeting of BRICS Ministers of Education held at Skukuza Safari Lodge in the Mpumalanga Province on 13 July 2023. The BRICS education engagements were hosted as part of the build-up to the 15th BRICS Heads of State Summit to be chaired by President Cyril Ramaphosa during August 2023. 

According to BRICS Ministers of Education, the frequent engagement amongst member states is pivotal as they are able to identify relevant areas of cooperation to improve education systems in their respective countries. After a robust discussion on the consolidated report tabled by the BRICS Education Senior Officials, the BRICS Ministers of Education firmly adopted the declaration emanating from the BRICS structure of Education Senior Officials. As such, the BRICS Ministers of Education agreed on eight thematic areas identified as education and training priorities for the BRICS Member States. These areas include climate change; entrepreneurship development; skills for the changing world including digital education cooperation; mutual recognition of qualifications; out-of-school youth; labour market intelligence; university global ranking and quality evaluation system; and early childhood development.  

In their deliberation, the Ministers showed commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 13, to combat climate change and its impact. The meeting proposed taking bold actions to improve education and awareness amongst respective member state general society, build human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning systems. The meeting also pinpointed the necessity to rethinking and reimagining the global rankings for universities because it tends to be skewed towards valuing the priorities and context of universities of the global north, imposes indefensible costs on developing country universities and detracts from norms emphasizing cooperation, collaboration, sharing and solidarity.

The Ministers also called for strengthening of entrepreneurship development at all levels of education and training amongst BRICS Member States and imparting the requisite skills set to students to consider self-employment as a valuable career path. The Ministers further agreed to delivering responsive and relevant programmes for out-of-school youth and to ensure employability and absorption into labour markets. “We need to use labour market intelligence to accurately identify the skills on demand by the respective country’s economies, and to inform the programme designs thus enabling the alignment with the needs of employers as well as to equip learners with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in their chosen career paths. This approach has numerous benefits for both those affected by the just energy transition and jobs which are becoming extinct. This will increase employment opportunities, economic mobility and reduce the risk of poverty and social exclusion. We also need to consider improving the quality and enhance international cooperation on higher education and training through mutual recognition qualifications in line with the Global Education 2030 Agenda. We should also facilitate exchanges of ideas and experiences within BRICS Member States on interventions for equipping learners with skills fit for the future through multiple learning pathways to prepare them for the changing world of work and equitable social justice. We further need to improve the quality of teaching and learning at the early childhood development level of the education system and integrate these within curricula that inspire the interests and imagination of young people in high-end disciplines such as maths and astronomy,” declared BRICS Ministers of Education.

Copyright: Department of Basic Education 2021 Terms Of Use Privacy Statement