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Bold Decisions on Education

So much has been said about education over the course of history. It is being described as a tool for guiding people’s life. Sure, it guides people to different paths. It always is the green light. Education provided at all levels somehow needs a look after, at least on a scheduled timeframe. It needs supervision and assessment. Otherwise challenges and failures will be crowned instead of victory and noble outcomes.

Every educational institution manages and organizes how well it is marching and whether it is providing the best quality of education to the public it is serving. It draws on resources, financial, material as well as human. Accordingly it improves the past failures and builds the right citizens the country is in need of.

The Ministry of Education, as part of the annual plan, has conducted its annual assessment of 2016 in the last two days. Conforming to the yearly planned period of assessment, the ministry organized this assessment meeting of 2016. Many participated to discuss educational issues including the heads of the educational branches, heads of regional social services, Ministries’ agents, members of PFDJ, members of national organizations and honored guests.

Unlike the previous meeting held in mid-September of the previous year, this meeting tried to intensely focus its discussions on issues and upcoming plans. The three major issues discussed were as follows: 1. The lack of teaching instructors in wide areas of the country and its negative influence on national development; 2. clearing the institutional relationship and work accomplishments among educational institutions; and 3. participation and co-partnership of the ministry in international educational junctures.

According to the Minister of Education, , lack of teaching staff in quality and quantity and the less equipped educational institutions are the reasons for the lower paced educational development and challenges to ensure the internal educational competency. The minister further addressed that by the end of the meeting, there should be research-based solutions to overcome the previous year’s tests and weaknesses.

Every evaluation program in the ministry is consistently evaluated on the basis of three critical factors: 1. preparing a lesson plan; 2. monitoring its application on the ground; and 3. evaluating results according to investments made for them. Based on these factors the vertical administering level, spanning the ministerial office to the school director unit (including units organized under the head office and regional institutions, horizontally dispatched) is for the efficient execution of tasks. This is a precondition for positive outcomes.
Every division presented annual reports on their progress. Many questions raised from participants at the end of every division’s presentation made the meeting more comprehensive and attractive for the audience who shared the day.

Reports were followed by many questions and enlightening comments. The Minister himself took part in answering questions. Human resources—particularly salary complaints—were a critical issue for the Administration and Finance Department. Also, archiving and transportation to remote regions were other critical issues brought up for the broader Ministry.

Other entities presented including Technical and Vocational School Training Department, Adult Education and Media Department, Human Resources and Analysis Department, the Sudan region, Information and Communications Technology Department and the UNESCO office. There was also an audit of the Minister’s office.

The Technical and Vocational School Training Department indicated that it has recently imported $5 million worth of materials to assist the workshops situated in all the vocational and training centers in all regions. The huge Mamos vocational school is constructing 32 new workshops to restore the trainings, which have been slowing down in previous times. Simultaneously, boarding schools in various spots of the country are renovating their infrastructures and worn out materials in order to provide the best educational services for their students. The head of the department Mr. Tesfay Syum indicated that around 72 new upgraded books are in line to upgrade the curriculum, which includes a wide variety of courses. The books are prepared to serve as manuals for instructors and are expected to be released in the next six months.

Integrative and collaborative topics concerning stakeholders were discussed. All of the ministry’s major challenges addressed in the meeting were noted by Minister Semere. He noted that these challenges should be the center of focus and that the Ministry should provide fundamental remedies.

It was also noted that stored materials should be properly managed. Job description and specification for inside the ministry for individuals hired and actively working was an important point raised by participants since the human resource needs to be optimized with the current work load.

Some of the participants highlighted that work is in the classroom and not the office so that idle man power should be addressed and put to the places it can contribute most. They addressed that the assignment of teaching staff ought to be according to qualifications and skills.

While presenting on vocational schools and training centers, points concerning small workshops’ significance and contributions were highlighted in the meeting. These workshops located in the vocational schools function as training and repair centers of materials for the schools. Thus, a due consideration and renovation plans need to be conducted, said the minister.

Since the 2000 Dakar Conference and for the next fifteen years, Eritrea actively participated in the stages of ‘Education for all’. Even in the conference held in Incheon, the country managed to send a group formed of three leaders and shared the moment. Meanwhile, to approve the Incheon’s conference decisions, Eritrea through its delegate participated in September 2016 to make the 2030 plan of ‘Education for Sustainable Development’ practical.

Eritrea is already in the process of this long term plan dealing with its technical functionality and plans for institutionalization based on national talks since mid- November last year.
At the end of the day, the minister recommended that the conference not be reduced to merely questions and answers but instead should provide real, practical solutions. Meetings should be platforms for change, he added.

These discussions in the Education Ministry are building confidence and triggering a spirit of synergy. All the personnel are striving to the maximum to ensure unsurpassed educational service is provided to the public. In spite of all the challenges, all higher officials and all common instructors in schools are on a determined endeavor to correct all current shortcomings.

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