The Centre for African Studies (CAS), of the University of Education, Winneba (UEW), an interdisciplinary research and teaching centre with a focus on building knowledge on Africa, has organised a one-day seminar to deliberate on issues in education as a pathway to Africa integration.
This was part of activities to mark the African Union (AU) Day. The seminar brought together academics, students and other persons interested in the development of Africa.
The programme which took place on Tuesday, 25th May, 2021, at the Executive Conference Room, North Campus, was under the theme, “Africa integration: positioning Higher Education in the Africa Continental Free Trade Area and Development”.
Head, Centre for African Studies, Dr. Gabriel Botchwey
Speaking on the purpose for gathering, the Head of Department (HoD), Centre for African Studies, Dr. Gabriel Kofi Botchwey expressed delight about setting aside every 25th May as AU Day to promote togetherness, discuss and reflect on issues bothering Africa.
“It’s an opportune moment for Africans to cogitate over Africa continental issues to ascertain where we have come from, how far we have come and where we want to go as a continent. The AU Day is meaningful to the African people, which is why the Centre for African Studies in the University of Education, Winneba, has joined hands with the rest of Africa to commemorate this day,” he said.
He added "integration is not a new thing to us but due to some changes introduced into our world, things look so special particularly, with our spoken languages in Ghana and other parts of the continent".
Dr. Botchwey urged participants to learn other spoken languages which will portray who they are and where they come from to facilitate the integration. “This also creates a lot of avenues for Africans as a people.”
Addressing the participants, the chairperson for the special occasion, Dr. Lucy Effeh Attom, who also serves as the Dean, Faculty of Social Science Education (FSSE), expressed excitement on celebrating the day.
She spoke about some challenges African countries like Mauritania, Guinea, and the Republic of Congo are facing presently. She explained that Africa is now at a disadvantage because the educational systems, global and western media have not been favourable to Africa.
Chairperson for the occasion, Dr. Lucy Effeh Attom, urging participants to wake up and make choices to integrate as one people, to forge ahead in unity and to ensure peace and the betterment of the African continent
She also pointed out that international trade which manifests itself in specialisation has created a situation of "Haves and Have nots" and this has further led to balance of trade deficits, Child labour, women and children trafficking and many more problems which have conspired to hinder the growth and development of Africa.
Urging the participants on the need to find solutions to African issues as Africans, Dr. Effeh Attom, said education should catalyse the solution to African issues. "We have come out with the Africa free trade area with the secretariat located in Ghana. This facility can create more avenues for producers and consumers, and trigger more employment openings for the African people to fulfil their potentials.
"Higher education can be used to implement the Africa continental area for free trade to ensure development. This will help Africa to gain from the training of her human and capital resources," she stressed.
Dr. Effeh Attom continued by saying that most educational institutions are endowed to do effective research to find solutions to African problems. "It is time for Africans to make a choice to integrate as one people, to forge ahead in unity and to ensure peace and the betterment of the African continent".
Deputy Registrar, Mr. Alexander W. Essah, reiterating Africans need for commitment to build a better continent
Special Guest of Honour, Registrar, UEW, Surv. Paul Osei Barimah Esq., represented by Deputy Registrar, Division of Operations, Mr. Alexander W. Essah, emphasised in his keynote address that the need for commitment "As Africans, we need to light up the spirit of commitment to show our readiness to build a strong and better Africa."
He said that most developed countries have shown the way by habiting commitment which has manifested in how far they have come. He cited an example in remembrance of the former President of Ghana, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, as a pan Africanist, who led the commitment campaign by organising seminars, workshops, and summits to bring the whole of Africa together. He, however, was sad that some leaders couldn’t follow in his footsteps to reach the expectations of the African people.
There were some paper presentations and discussions on the theme. These were moderated by the Director of DRID, UEW/CAS, Dr. Edmond A. Agyeman and the HoD, Political Science Education, UEW, Dr. Akwasi Amoako–Gyampah.
Performers from the Department of Theatre Arts were there to entertain the participants with rich African music and cultural displays.
Moderators of the presentations; Dr. Akwasi Amoako–Gyampah (above) and Dr. Edmond A. Agyeman