The Association of Technical Universities and Polytechnics in Africa (ATUPA), was born out of a resolution of the General Assembly of Heads of Member Institutions of the Commonwealth Association of Technical Universities and Polytechnics in Africa (CAPA) taken on 29th of August 2019 in Kigali, Rwanda. This decision was ratified by the Ministers of Education from AU member states at the Third Ordinary Session of the Specialized Committee on Education, Science and Technology (STC – EST III) on December 13, 2019 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The African Union’s STC – EST III resolved to “TAKE NOTE of the rebranding of the CAPA to the Association of Technical Universities and Polytechnics in Africa (ATUPA), and to encourage Technical Universities and Polytechnics in their countries to join this continental Association”. The mandate of the pan-African Association is to support professional and skills development amongst its membership mostly drawn from TVET institutions in Africa. In order to stimulate exchanges of experience and ideas, the Association regularly organizes and provides forums for discussion of matters of common interests amongst members and the TVET stakeholders. At the General Assembly of Heads of Member Institutions held on the 30th of August 2022, the members unanimously granted the Republic of Ghana the hosting rights for the 2023 annual conference. The theme of the conference is “Mainstreaming TVET for Skills Development, Mobility and Resilient Economies in Africa”
The outcomes of the conference shall enhance TVET stakeholders’ sensitivity on the prevailing TVET and economic trends as well as Africa-specific instruments that can be harnessed for the renewal and consolidation of TVET programming in Africa.
The Africa Transformational Master Plan (AU Agenda 2063) provides the framework for all governmental, institutional and bilateral development action plans in the African continent. This Master Plan serves as an incentive for ATUPA’s mandate of ‘supporting professional and skills development among its member institutions across the continent’. In this effort, ATUPA is further guided by global TVET trends, and their implications for Africa’s transformational agenda. The theme of the 2023 Conference therefore seeks to generate transnational and trans-institutional discussion themes and knowledge transfer partnerships (KTPs) frameworks that not only aim to bring innovative approaches to TVET programming in Africa, but also make effort at harmonizing the conception of TVET and its contributions to Africa’s social and economic development goals.
It is against this background, that the theme of 2023 ATUPA Annual Conference: “Mainstreaming TVET for Skills Mobility and Resilient Economies in Africa” was conceptualised. The overarching goal of this theme is to draw on our understanding of current trends in the global TVET environment and the statutory incentives of multilateral tools like the 2030 Agenda, and recent AU instruments like the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCFTA) to revise the existing paradox of non-resilient and intra-national TVET programming models in Africa. The Conference aims to draw on the lessons learned from the limitations of existing TVET programming models to stimulate a post-pandemic debate amongst TVET stakeholders. This debate will focus on learning how cross-border linkages in the TVET value chain can be optimised in the pursuit of an inclusive socio-economic renaissance for Africa. The choice of this theme is not only intended to signal the need for a renewed and innovative approach to TVET products and value chain development. It also aims to reinforce and augment existing programmes and partnerships within the frames of an emerging trend of increasingly, mobile, scalable and integrated continental economy. The rationale for this approach draws further on the premise that continental TVET models have greater potentials in supporting the achievement of a transformed and resilient African economy. The conference theme will thus generate a confluence of ideas in supporting ATUPA member institutions in incentivising skills revolution and the production of excellent knowledge infrastructure (physical and technical) in their respective countries. These are goals that will reinforce the transformational continental vision of an empowered youth population, STI skills-driven industrialisation, inclusive economic growth, and scalable income streams through the decent work philosophy.