Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta has advised African teachers to seek for observer status at the African Union so that they can engage directly with the continent’s top leadership.
The President said teachers have one of the biggest roles in moulding new generations of Africans and their input in Pan-Africanism is invaluable.
Speaking when he opened the 10th African Confederation of Principals (ACP) meeting in Mombasa, on Tuesday, President Kenyatta said he would lobby other African Heads of State to give an observer status to the group.
The Head of State challenged the Confederation to get the membership of all African countries before they present a request for observer status at the AU.
“You have the Herculean task to mentor the children of Africa. There should be a forum you can use to engage with the African Union,” said President Kenyatta at Pride Inn Beach Resort where more than 1,200 school principals from several African countries are gathered.
Kenya is scheduled to take over the presidency of the teacher’s organisation whose goal is to benchmark on the best teaching practices across the continent.
The ACP also wants to bid for Kenya to host the International Confederation of Principals meeting in 2021.
President Kenyatta said the conference of principals being held in Mombasa showcases the progress Africa has made in transforming its education system.
The Head of State noted that African countries that taught their children to value their African identity before their ethnic identities today have lesser tribalism.
“Pan-Africanism and unity matter in our advancement as a people. Some of us have emphasized the teaching of African history; some of us have taught their children to overcome the divisions that troubled their parents generation; some of us have prized African unity, and taught their children to prize it too,” said President Kenyatta.
President Kenyatta added that education is absolutely critical in achieving and sustaining a country’s development agenda.
“Our education systems must be aligned to labour market demands. That is, education should be designed to better prepare our children to make a contribution to a very grand project: turning Africa’s wealth into Africans wealth,” said the Head of State.
At the same time, President Kenyatta called on teachers not to put the lives of their students at risk especially when they are travelling.
“It is better to be safe than being sorry. It is better to be late by one day than to lose precious lives,” said President Kenyatta who led the participants in a minute of silence in memory of the children who lost their lives in a school bus accident in Kitui County three days ago.
The Head of State directed school administration’s not to transport children at night and in the event that night falls before students reach their destination they should be taken to the nearest secondary school.
Speaking at the forum, Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed said President Kenyatta’s presence at the meeting was an indication of the importance he attaches to education and the teaching profession.
The President of the ACP Thembekile Ndlovu said the principals participating at the conference were impressed by how the Government of Kenya motivates and rewards its teachers to stay in the profession.
Mrs Ndlovu will hand over the Presidency of the ACP to the chairman of the Kenya Secondary School Heads Association, Mr Indimuli Kahi.