AT LEAST 250 delegates from 54 African countries are expected to descend on Maseru next month when the Ministry of Education and Training hosts the eighth conference of the Africa Federation of Teaching Regulatory Authorities (AFTRA).
The conference is set for 13 to 18 May 2019 at the ‘Mathabiseng Convention Centre and is meant for education stakeholders to exchange best teaching practices.
The conference, which is to be led by the Teaching Council – country’s regulating body for the teaching profession – is an annual event which rotates from each of the member states.
It is expected to attract high profile public figures such as Prime Minister Thomas Thabane, cabinet ministers from Lesotho and abroad, principal secretaries from Lesotho and abroad and representatives from other stakeholders including the academia.
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.
According to the Teaching Service’s Acting Chief Executive Officer, Phaee Monaheng Mariti, 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.
“This is an opportunity for our stakeholders to reflect and refresh their minds on teachers on the importance of the teaching profession.”
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.”
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.
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.