By Asiyatu Ngulinga
German Ambassador to Malawi, His Excellency Jurgen Borsch, has described Adult Education as the most underfunded sub sector in African countries in spite of the essential role it plays in personal, community and national development.
He was speaking on Monday during the official opening of a three-day regional conference dubbed ‘Building Adult Education Systems in African Contexts’ held at Golden Peacock Hotel in Lilongwe. Ambassador Borsch described learning as a lifelong process, saying to be provided opportunities to learn is essential for the development of individuals and that of nations.“It is even more important in our modern, knowledge-based society,” said the German Ambassador.
However, Borsch observed that the significance of the sub sector (Adult Education) is undermined by meagre funding in most African countries.
He pointed out that adult education has specific relevance to countries like Malawi where, for a number of reasons, access to initial education and its quality have been limited, sometimes interrupted or cut off.
“Adult education, therefore, obtains an even bigger significance in such context, where initial learning opportunities are limited,” he said.
The German Ambassador said apart from creating limited literacy and numeracy skills, interrupted education leaves in individuals reduced capabilities to induce development at personal level and for the society.
He said this situation is a major obstacle for individuals, communities and nations in the region.
In the three days of discussion at the conference, participants are expected to share experiences about adult education from various countries in Africa, and also explore ways of increasing funding in the sub sector.
The conference will also give the opportunity for participants to develop advocacy tools for adult education and build robust, well-resourced and sustainable adult education systems in the African contexts.
Minister of Civic Education, Culture and Community Development, Grace Chiumia who officially opened the conference, said she was interested to learn what other African countries are doing to increase the number of men attending adult literacy education.
The Germany-based organisation, DVV International, has organised the conference which has attracted civil society representatives, members of the academia and other experts from Uganda, Ethiopia, Mozambique, South Africa, Mali, Tanzania, Germany and Malawi.