Nairobi, 21st - 23rd June 2023
1./ In 2020, the Values and Life skills thematic cluster of the Regional Education Learning Initiative commenced working on a project dubbed Assessment of life skills and values in East Africa (ALiVE) with a commitment to address two main questions: 1. How do we understand these competencies in the context of East Africa and which ones do we prioritize? 2. What works (and what doesn’t) in the assessment of these competencies in context? After two years, the team of 47 East Africans have successfully developed contextualised tools for problem-solving, collaboration, respect, and self-awareness, and conducted a large-scale, household-based assessment that reached more than 46,000 adolescents in over 100 districts across Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. Though this is ground-breaking work, many questions remain unanswered.
2./ The conference comes at a time when the education systems in East Africa and Africa at large are shifting to competency-based curricula, with priority given to learners acquiring the skills for living and thriving. As much as this is progressive thinking, many challenges continue to persist in making this a reality: i) Lack of uniform understanding of these competencies, ii) Uncoordinated effort among education stakeholders, iii) Lack of capacity to develop and to assess these competencies, and iv) Insufficient policy implementation to support life skills programming.
3./ There is hence an urgent need to bring stakeholders together to deepen our understanding and knowledge of what these competencies are in the context and how to assess and nurture them. Hopefully, this understanding of the competencies and how to assess them will shift the education practices to respond to the 21st century’s needs.