by Ronald Ssekandi
KAMPALA, March 16 (Xinhua) -- China's aid to the education sector in Africa is helping boost teacher training, a key component in skilling the population to fast track development, a UN official has said.
Ann Therese Ndong-Jatta, Director of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Regional Office for Eastern Africa, in an interview recognized China's contribution to Africa's education sector over the years.
"We value the initiative in teacher training in Uganda and other countries in Africa. This will revitalize the teaching profession," she said.
China through UNESCO donated equipment to three teacher training institutions in Uganda on March 3. Figures from the Chinese embassy here show that 137 tutors were trained and 272 pieces of Information Communication and Technology and studio equipment were donated.
Ndong-Jatta said tutors were skilled on how to integrate technology with traditional methods of training.
China through UNESCO is funding an 8-million-U.S.-dollar project aimed at narrowing the educational quality gap on the continent.
The project "Enhancing Teacher Education for Bridging the Education Quality Gap in Africa" aims to accelerate progress towards the achievement of Education for All and the Sustainable Development Goal 4, which is quality education.
The four-year project that started in 2012 focuses on providing a sufficient number of qualified teachers in Africa through training programs.
Eight African countries including Cote d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Namibia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Congo, Liberia, Tanzania, and Uganda are benefiting from the program.
Ndong-Jatta said besides cooperation in the primary education level, China has been cooperating with Africa to boost higher education.
China helped set up the Capacity Building Institute of Teacher Education in Ethiopia, and the regional director said some African countries also had student and teacher exchanges with China.
She said a conference has been scheduled in Djibouti to discuss how to boost further cooperation with China in the area of higher education.