Enhancing Policies and Practices to Promote STEM-focused TVET for Women and Girls - the 2nd High-level Dialogue of African Union held in Addis Ababa

The 2nd African Union High-level Dialogue on Girls and Women's Education (the 2nd High-level Dialogue) held on the 24th January 2018 reached a Call to Action among Member States to enhance policies and practices to promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) -focused TVET (Technical Vocational Education and Training) and career opportunities for women and girls as a critical approach to the inclusive and sustainable social transformation in Africa.

Participants shared experiences and discussed challenges in investing in human capital and financial resources to build females' self-confidence and boost their interests in STEM and TVET, as well as using legal and institutional frameworks to eliminate gender stereotypes in teaching and learning environments. Dr. Yumiko Yokozeki, Director of UNESCO IICBA facilitated the panel discussion and led the dialogue on enhancing investments in STEM and TVET that engage, inspire and empower women and girls to take up STEM studies and careers. The panel recommended African countries to prioritize STEM education and TVET for girls and women, and invest in the factors that have essential impact, such as improving the quality of STEM teachers.

Co-organized by African Union International Centre for Girls’ and Women's Education in Africa (AU/CIEFFA) and the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Ethiopia, UNESCO-IICBA, UNICEF and Save the Children, the 2nd High-level Dialogue engaged 105 delegates from 26 African countries and international development partners. These including H.E Prof. Sarah Anyang Agbor, Commissioner of Human Resource, Science and Technology, African Union, Hon. Amina Abdou Souna, Chair of Education Commission of Pan African Parliament, H.E. Mr Jakaya Kikwete, Former President of Tanzania, H.E. Prof. Mary Teuw Niane, Minister of Education of Senegal, H. E. Abena Osei-Asare, Deputy Minister of Finance of Ghana, Hon. Chantal Safou Lopousa, Minister of Women, Family and Children of Democratic Republic of Congo, H.E Dr. Jean Alfazema Nachika Kalilani, Minister of Gender, Children, Disability of Malawi, and H. E. Ms Lucia Witbooi, Minister of Gender Equality of Namibia. H.E. Ine Eriksen Soereide, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway, also attended the opening session and gave her remarks.