The secondary schools EAC clubs held their first joint activity in Mang’u High School to orient and ground themselves on their role in the EAC integration process. The clubs launched on 25th September, 2015 in Nairobi have rolled up activities in the Nairobi region and a clear strategy to progressively move to the other regions.
The clubs particularly chose activities focussed towards understanding the EAC integration process in general and in particular how to pursue individual careers geared towards regional integration and socio-economic development.
Addressing the students gathering, The Principal Secretary in charge of EAC Affairs, Ms Betty Maina, demonstrated how key the youth are in the integration process. In a speech read by Social Affairs Senior Assistant Director, Ms.Tabitha Masinjila, the PS elucidated the recognition the Ministry accords the youth as key stakeholders in integration matters. “Taking cognizant of the fact that the youth are important stakeholders in the EAC integration processes, and form a substantial part of the population endeavours to ensure their involvement through education, training and mainstreaming of their issues into EAC policies, programmes and projects are at advanced stage” She said.
The students were commended for their commitment in ensuring the clubs launched 5 months ago took off. “Allow me to remind you that the EAC integration is an all-inclusive people centred process that touches on every aspect of our country’s development and it is implemented under the four pillars of Customs Union; Common Market; Monetary Union; and Political Federation” The PS said, challenging them to participate in the regional events like the Biannual cultural JAMAFEST and EAC Secondary School Games and Sports as a way of expressing their talents.
She accentuated the economic, infrastructural and other areas of integration, a process which provides for the social aspect of integration; which focuses on education and training, science and technology, health, culture and sports, social welfare, and enhancing the role of the youth in socio-economic development. Maina emphasized on the facets of social integration; harmonizing education systems and training curricula, promoting regional harmony through shared cultural, arts and sports activities, initiation of social welfare activities and developing regional policies on health and HIV and AIDS.
Addressing the opportunities presented for the students in the region, the EAC Affairs boss reiterated the importance of equipping themselves for the same. She said initiatives to enhance student’s mobility have been put in place. These include Mutual Recognition of Academic and Professional Qualifications to ease trade in professional services; promotion of cross-border education through harmonising curricula, examinations, standards, certification and accreditation of educational and training institutions; issuance of student pass on gratis; harmonising of university fees to increase access to higher education; and establishment of centres of excellence to enhance access to quality education and training.
In a rare show of their dexterity on matters integration, the students participated in an open debate themed ”Benefits of integration outweigh the cost” which provided an impressive confirmation that the message of integration has fast infiltrated not only among institutions of higher learning but also in Secondary Schools. The debaters exhibited clear masterly of the key aspects of integration; from the Common Market to the ultimate Political Federation.
Senior Assistant Director, Mr Peter Chege observed that the EAC integration process aimed at engaging the youth on continuous basis and take advantage of their multi-talent and potential in fostering creativity, innovation, leadership and sharing of information. He underlined the crucial role of EAC clubs in secondary schools which provided an avenue for engagements. Chege the students to spearhead the process, spread the integration gospel to the grassroots and most importantly, critique the policies and the processes of implementation
Ms. Masinjilla who represented the Principal Secretary challenged the established of clubs to ensure their impact trickled to the other schools. She termed them as focal points in their respective schools whose advocacy the Ministry encouraged. ”We urge you to carry out advocacy of the EAC integration agenda through sensitizing, educating and engaging not only your peers put the entire school community. This is a noble responsibility that calls for commitment and sacrifice’ Ms. Masinjila.
The Ministry of Education represented by Mr. Mwaniki lauded the participation of the various EAC Secondary School Clubs as a clear indication of the collective commitment in sharing of information and developing partnership.
Ms. Lilian Muchoki, the Executive Director, Sauti ya Jamii which organized the event called for more partnerships to ensure the success of the clubs. She appreciated the support accorded to the organization by the State Department of EAC Affairs and the club patrons.
The clubs drawn from Mang’u High School, Precious Blood-Riruta, Mary Leakey Girls, Alliance Girls and Ruthimitu participated in a match and later tree planting exercise at the hosts designated area to be named ‘The EAC Corner” where peace meetings will be held henceforth.