ABUJA, Nigeria, 10 March 2023: The Secretary-General of the Organisation of Education Cooperation (OEC) Manssour Bin Mussallam concluded today, a three-day official visit to Nigeria, with a commitment to further strengthen collaboration within the framework of the Strategic Plan and the Common Programme of Member States.
During the trip that commenced on 8th March 2023, the Secretary-General received updates from the Federal Ministry of Education and the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council about the country’s ambitious plan to domesticate and implement the vision and aspirations contained in the Universal Declaration of Balanced and Inclusive Education, particularly relating to the National Language Policy.
At the Federal Ministry of Education Headquarters in Abuja, the Permanent Secretary Mr Andrew David Adejoh appreciated the Secretary-General for the pace at which he has led the consolidation and establishment of the Secretariat and embarking on the implementation of the Common Programme. He pledged the full support and involvement of Nigeria in this endeavour of the Global South, seeing the OEC as a critical instrument for the revitalization of multilateralism and international solidarity.
“The Global South gave the world civilization. We need to take back our space and place on the table, and the OEC affords us that opportunity,” Mr Adejoh said.
Whilst at the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council, the Executive Secretary Prof. Ismail Junaidu informed the Secretary-General that Council’s mandate as the leading driver of education policy research in the country, is aligned to the vision and mission of the OEC, and looks forward to further exploration of areas of collaboration.
Secretary-General Bin Mussallam thanked the Government of Nigeria for inviting him, and for demonstrating the country’s commitment to the OEC, the Universal Declaration of Balanced and Inclusive Education and the Charter.
“Nigeria is a proactive and valued member of the OEC, and you have clearly demonstrated that by being among the first to be at the forefront of implementing mother tongue education, a key commitment contained in the Universal Declaration of Balanced and Inclusive Education, as a necessary component of equitable social and national development” the Secretary-General said.
Speaking before departing Nigeria, Bin Mussallam said: “I came here to listen to, and identify with the authorities in Nigeria, how best our collective Organisation, the OEC, may support endeveours of the country, in whichever way Nigeria has determined as opportune and appropriate, in implementing the UDBIE generally, and the National Language Policy in particular.”
The Secretary-General highlighted some of the key components of the OEC’s collective work, including the planned launch of a pan-Global South exchange programme known as the Framework to Reinforce Exchanges between Youth and Regions through Education (FREYRE), a scheme to enable the mobility of students and academic staff as well as credit equivalence across OEC Member States and other countries of the Global South.
He said that through FREYRE, best practices and lessons learnt in areas such as mother tongue education from Global South countries like as Bolivia, Ethiopia, Nigeria, amongst others, would be brought to the benefit of all.
Secretary-General Bin Mussallam also informed his hosts about the planned establishment of the OEC Institute at the Organisation’s Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to “provide intensive training to policy and technical officials from the Ministries of Education from Member States, and equip them with the necessary instruments to lead the transformation towards Balanced and Inclusive Education within their education systems.”
The Secretary-General also said that the OEC will work with Member States to support the development of endogenous, context specific technologies to bridge the digital divide that exists between the North and the South and within the Global South itself.
As part of the official visit, Secretary-General Bin Mussallan visited a special needs school in Kuje, a town on the outskirts of Abuja. He appreciated the work done by the Government in promoting access to education and skills to children with special needs. He said one way of promoting greater inclusion is through undertaking “circular educational economy” where the education institutions develop stronger partnerships with communities to ensure greater impact, relevance, and sustainability.
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