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2017 Joint meeting of the SADC Ministers responsible for Education and Training, Science, Technology and Innovation in Manzini, Swaziland

Ministers of Basic Education and Science and Technology, Mrs Angie Motshekga and Mrs Naledi Pandor, joined other Southern African Development Community (SADC) Ministers of Education and Training, Science, Technology and Innovation for the annual joint meeting that took place in Manzini, Swaziland from 22 to 23 June 2017. Minister Motshekga was supported by the Director-General of Basic Education, Mr Mathanzima Mweli and other senior officials.

The meeting focused on the progress review of the implementation of the Education and Training and Science, Technology and Innovation Programmes within the context of the Revised SADC Regional Indicative Development Plan (RISDP) 2015-2020. Several other matters discussed include the SADC Qualifications Framework; vocational education and training; distance education and learning; as well we care and support for teaching and learning in schools. The meeting also discussed the implementation of key continental instruments such as the African Union Agenda 2063 and the Continental Education Strategy for Africa (CESA) 2016 - 2025.

In this meeting South Africa took over chairship of the 2018 Joint Meeting of the SADC Ministers of Education and Training, Science, Technology and Innovation, that will be held in South Africa. This comes after the 36th Ordinary SADC Head of States and Governments Summit, that took place during August 2016 in Swaziland, elected South Africa as the next chair of SADC from August 2017 to August 2018.

Minister Motshekga will co-chair the 2018 Joint Committee of the Ministers of Education and Training, Science, Technology; along with the Ministers of Higher Education and Training and Science and Technology, Dr Blade Nzimande and Mrs Naledi Pandor.

Minister Motshekga also attended the 11th session of the Southern and East African Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality (SACMEQ) Assembly of Ministries of Education in Southern and Eastern Africa, which preceded the SADC joint meeting and took place on 21 June 2017. SACMEQ serves to expand opportunities for educational planners to gain technical skills required to monitor and evaluate the general conditions of schooling and the quality of basic education in their respective systems. In addition, SACMEQ generates information that can be used by decision-makers to plan and implement improvements in their education systems. During this meeting, SACMEQ presented the findings of the SACMEQ IV study, surveying the conditions of schooling and the quality of education across all member states of the SACMEQ.

Minister Motshekga welcomed the findings of the study and affirmed concerns raised in the study, specifically with regards to the HIV prevalence and the need to revive the awareness around HIV and AIDS to the level of significance that it truly deserves among societies. The South African Ministry of Basic Education is planning to announce the National SACMEQ IV report during 2017.

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