NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 6 – Assistant Education Minister Calistus Mwatela has called for the integration of the East African region through education, observing that learning is the backbone for any thriving economy.
Mr Mwatela said that it was impossible for any country to achieve its economic and development goals in isolation adding that there was need for free flow of education across all the East African countries.
“The trend worldwide is for countries to come together. People have realised that in terms of economy, large populations and numbers are critical for survival,” he explained.
Mr Mwatela argued that integration would facilitate trade between regional and international blocs stating that it was easier for countries to trade as federations rather than solitary units.
“With increased integration we create a strong voice to negotiate with other international organisations especially when it comes to trading,” he explained.
The Assistant Minister added that the steady progress made by the East African Ccommunity had laid a solid foundation for the attainment of the region’s common vision of rapid development and called for one East African Electoral Commission as it would avert future election violence.
“If we had one East African Electoral Commission with referees who were completely impartial we would not have had the situation (of) early 2008 because the commission would have overseen our elections according to our laws.”
He added that Kenya’s Vision 2030 underscored the quest for social transformation of the country from poverty to widespread prosperity through the provision of quality education and training in the entire East African region.
“We should be committed to the provision of quality education to our people within the context of poverty reduction and economic growth. We cannot realise the Millennium Development Goals if our people are poor and ignorant,” he stated.
He added that educationists had a major role to play in the creation of a truly united East African society pointing out that education and awareness creation among young East Africans was the surest way to win the hearts of the people for whom the Community was initiated.
“As countries forging towards increased partnership in all spheres, it is imperative that our schools be effective agencies for the creation of awareness and for enhancing unity in the region,” observed Mr Mwatela.
He said that the Education Ministry had spent Sh28 million to sponsor secondary schools that participated in the just concluded East African Ball games held in Fort Portal in Uganda.
The games brought together Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and Southern Sudan. He was speaking during the sixth edition of the East African Community students’ essay writing competition in Nairobi where students wrote about the impact of HIV and AIDS in the East African region.