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AFTRA preps on course

by Lesotho Times
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Staff Writer

PREPARATIONS are at an advanced stage for the eighth conference of the Africa Federation of Teaching Regulatory Authorities (AFTRA) which starts on Tuesday and runs until 18 May at the ‘Mathabiseng Convention Centre in Maseru.

The conference, which is meant for education stakeholders to exchange best teaching practice in African countries.

The Chief Information Officer in the Ministry of Education and Training Molikuoa ‘Mota yesterday told the Lesotho Times that preparations for the conference are at an advanced stage.

Ms ‘Mota said they have also secured sponsorship for the conference from local businesses who will sponsor 90 percent of the costs.

“We have managed to get sponsors as 90 percent of the cost are covered by the local business community while the remaining 10 percent is from the AFTRA,” Ms ‘Mota said.

“Delegates will start arriving from Sunday. The venue for the conference is booked, the caterers have been secured.

“We have seen a positive response from our local people who have submitted their papers for presentation and most delegates have submitted their itineraries.”

She said they are expecting at least seven ministers of education from different countries for the conference.

“So far, Nigeria, Cameroon, South Africa, Zambia, Ghana, Burkina Faso and Sierra Leone have confirmed participation. We have also organised excursion trips for the delegates to ensure that we also promote our tourism,” Ms ‘Mota said.

She said they have also received confirmation of attendance from the Commissioner of the Human Resources, Science and Technology Department (HRST) in the African Union and international speaker, Professor Patel from India.

“Today the AFTRA office in Abuja, Nigeria received confirmation that the Minister of Basic Education of Cameroon will represent the President of Cameroon at the AFTRA anniversary and Award of the AFTRA Presidential Medal of Honour.

“We also received confirmation that the Commissioner of Education, Science and Culture of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) will be leading a top level ECOWAS delegation to the AFTRA events,” Ms ‘Mota said.

She also said they have received written regrets from the Ministers of Tanzania, Ethiopia and Mauritius.

At least 150 foreign delegates are expected to descend on for the conference which is expected to be attended by Prime Minister Thomas Thabane and other government officials.

It is also expected to be attended by information and communication technology (ICT) experts, employers of teachers, teachers unions, international development partners, non-governmental organisations, and the general public.

AFTRA is an intergovernmental organisation comprising the national agencies regulating teaching in the 54 African countries. Inaugurated on October 12, 2010 in Abuja Nigeria by the Ministers of Education of Nigeria and South Africa with an initial 15-member countries, AFTRA has grown into a profound continental federation that leads policy development and implementation for the professionalisation of teaching in Africa.

The conference will also feature a roundtable meeting for AFTRA member organisations only. The Roundtable is AFTRA’s annual general meeting (AGM).

Some of the sub themes of the conference will include education and global competiveness; professional teaching standards; continental frameworks; advances in educational technologies; teacher education; continental curricular and quality frameworks; teacher working conditions and motivation; teacher safety; learner abuse and safety among others.

The Teaching Service’s Acting Chief Education Officer, Phaee Monaheng Mariti, recently told the Lesotho Times that the conference will provide attendants an opportunity to share best practices on education.

“The conference provides opportunities for exchange of best practices between AFTRA and members of the global community particularly the academia, ICT experts, employers of teachers, teachers unions, international development partners, non-governmental organisations, and the general public,” Ms Monaheng Mariti said.

She added that the conference will also provide attendants with an opportunity to reflect on the role that the teaching profession plays in today’s society, while also helping to revive the teaching spirit among the teachers.

Ms Monaheng Mariti said the conference, which has been themed “Teaching and Learning in Africa for Global Competitiveness”, will feature a series presentations from both local and education experts.

She further said some of the local presenters will come from educational institutions among them lecturers and students from the National University of Lesotho (NUL), lecturers from the Lesotho College of Education and the Ministry of Education among others.

“We are expecting many visitors to come into the country for this conference, which will also boost the country’s hospitality industry during their stay. We are expecting about 250 delegates.”

Ms Monaheng Mariti said prospective participants are expected to pay a registration fee of US$150 (about M2100) for locals while for international delegates the fee is $300 (about M4200).

While the event is financially supported by the ministry, Ms Monaheng Mariti said they are also seeking support from the private sector for financial and in kind support.

“We have requested for financial support from the business community to stage the event and some have already responded positively to our call. Those who will extend support to us will get a chance to market their products or services during the conference,” Ms Monaheng Mariti said.

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