ICHEI

International Centre for Higher Education Innovation
under the auspices of UNESCO

UNESCO-ICHEI Attends UNESCO-Africa-China High-level Dialogue

July 1, 2020
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On June 24th, UNESCO-Africa-China High-Level Dialogue for Supporting Priority Africa in the COVID-19 and Post-COVID Context was held. Mr Chen Baosheng, Minister of Education, attended the meeting and delivered a keynote speech.

Mr Tian Xuejun, Vice Minister of Education and Director of the Chinese National Commission for UNESCO and Mr Firmin Edouard Matoko, Assistant Director-General for Priority Africa and External Relations of UNESCO co-presided over the meeting. Ministers of education, presidents of universities, officials of UNESCO National Commissions from Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Mali, Namibia and Togo, senior officials of UNESCO and heads of regional offices in Africa attended the meeting.

The dialogue was jointly initiated by China and UNESCO, aiming at exchanges and sharing experiences and good practices against the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, and exploring practical measures to support Africa in this backdrop. The conference received positive responses from both China and Africa, with leaders of local governments, universities, enterprises and research institutions in China attending the meeting to discuss how to consolidate exchanges and cooperation between China and Africa under the framework of UNESCO. UNESCO-ICHEI, as a UNESCO Category 2 centre in Shenzhen, China, was invited to attend this meeting.

Minister Chen Baosheng said that China is willing to implement the results of the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation and The Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity against COVID-19, to support UNESCO’s leadership in its functional areas, and work together to help African countries to overcome the pandemic. Minister Chen Baosheng suggested strengthening information exchanges, expanding cooperation channels, widening technology application, sharing quality resources, building an education community to realize the 2030 Agenda with a focus on future development, and deepening tripartite cooperation among China, Africa and UNESCO.

Professor LI Ming, Director of UNESCO-ICHEI was invited to speak at the meeting, and introduced the International Institute of Online Education (IIOE) project, which was initiated by UNESCO-ICHEI during the outbreak.

IIOE mainly aims to provide teacher training to HEIs in Africa. Currently, more than 140 English courses are open for free on IIOE platform, with a focus on ICT related area. And there will be a total of 500 English courses and 300 French courses to be gradually online by the end of 2021. IIOE has a self-developed platform, with both web-based and HTML5 interfaces in Chinese, English and French.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, IIOE has organized 10 training sessions for HEIs in African countries, themed online teaching and learning. It is estimated that the training series has attracted more than 2,100 HE teachers from over 300 HEIs in 47 countries. The IIOE advanced ICT Competency training series will be released successively in the second half of this year.

Professor LI noted that IIOE will focus on enhancing the ICT competency of HE teachers, and at the same time strengthening online course development and mutual sharing. UNESCO-ICHEI plans to expand IIOE network to more education ministries and universities in Africa. It is expected that 100 HEIs in Asia and Africa will join IIOE network by the end of 2021. UNESCO-ICHEI and IIOE commit to assist digitalization and sustainable development of African higher education during the COVID-19 pandemic and in the post-pandemic era.

Stefania Giannini, Assistant Director-General for Education of UNESCO spoke highly of achievements made by China. She confirmed that China promoted education reform during the pandemic, explored new teaching methods, and successfully realized the practice of ‘classes suspended but learning continues’. Firmin Edouard Matoko, Assistant Director-General for Priority Africa and External Relations of UNESCO expressed gratitude towards generous support to UNESCO from China during the outbreak of the COVID-19.