( dpa ) - African policy makers started learning about Singapore's 40-year experience in building its education system on Monday with the goal of developing skills for economic growth in their homelands.
The 70 senior officials and education specialists from Ghana, Madagascar and Mozambique accompanied by World Bank (WB) officials started the two-week workshop ending February 1.
"Africa is a decidedly different place today, with economies registering steady and in some cases even rapid growth over the past 10 years," said Tan Jee-Ping, the WB's Africa advisor on education.
"To sustain that growth will require good policies in education and training to supply the skills required for economic productivity and competitiveness. In this regard, Singapore has a lot to offer."
Drawing on the city-state's experiences, the workshop aims to provide the delegates with the opportunity to acquire practical skills and knowledge to lead innovation and change in improving education and training in their own countries.
"Such knowledge-sharing and exchange fosters a mutually beneficial and strong relationship," Tan said. Visits to tertiary, vocational and technical institutions as well as primary and secondary schools are included in the agenda.
Discussions are scheduled to focus on strategic leadership, school management systems, curriculum development and resource management.
The workshop is jointly sponsored by the Singapore's government and WB under a third country training programme. Since 1996, the city-state and WB have pooled resources and expertise to provide training for developing countries in fields including environmental management, finance, banking, urban development, information technology and hospital reform.
The event also provides an opportunity for Singapore's education players and WB specialists "to better understand the needs of educational systems in Africa and find collaborative opportunities to add value to the existing system," said Chua Taik Him, deputy chief executive officer of the city-state's trade body.
Total trade between Singapore and Sub-Saharan Africa amounted to 6.35 billion Singapore dollars (4.47 million US dollars) in 2007, a 6.7 per cent increase from the previous year.