Standards are the invisible architecture of markets, manufacturing, technology, health care, Education and trade, and controls, entirely, the industries and every sector of life on a global scale. Reflections on the benefits of the ARSO Youth Programmes @ Education about Standardisation, The Yearly Standardisation Essay Competitions for African Universities, Standardisation Seminars and Workshops; in reference to the UN Theme of International Day of the Youth on 12th August 2019 – “Transforming Education”, which highlights efforts to make education more relevant, equitable and inclusive for all Youth.
Africa has the youngest population in the world with more than 400 million young people aged between the ages of 15 to 35 years. https://au.int/en/youth-development.
As the African continent undergoes profound demographic changes characterised by declining fertility and child mortality rates and rapid population growth, the prospects of emulating the Asian countries and harnessing the demographic dividend, to ignite its full potential to stimulate sustainable socio-economic development, have excited many African leaders. With a population of estimated to increase from about 1.2 billion people to 2.2 billion people between 2015 and 2050, and with 41% of the people in the continent being below 15 years old while another 19% are youth between 15 and 24 years old, Africa considerably is a Youthful continent (AFIDEP 2019). Such a youthful population calls for an increase of investment in economic and social development factors, in order to improve the development index of African nations. One of the ways to do this is through education. This resonates with the theme of 2019 theme of the International Youth day celebrated on 12th July 2019, “Transforming Education”, which highlights efforts to make education more relevant, equitable and inclusive for all youth, including efforts by youth themselves, which is crucial to achieving sustainable development. Besides, The AU has developed several youth development policies and programmes at continental level aimed at ensuring the continent benefits from its demographic dividend. The policies include the African Youth Charter, Youth Decade Plan of Action, and the Malabo Decision on Youth Empowerment, all of which are implemented through various AU Agenda 2063 programmes.
ARSO joins the World in honoring the International Youth Day, celebrated on 12th August 2019 under the theme, “Transforming Education”, which highlights efforts to make education more relevant, equitable and inclusive for all Youth. Education is a development multiplier which plays a pivotal role in accelerating progress across all sectors of life, and more so in achieving 17 Sustainable Development Goals, be it poverty eradication, good health, gender equality, decent work and growth, reduced inequalities, action on climate or building peaceful societies. The role of standardisation in all these cannot be overemphasized, as standards are the invisible architecture of markets, manufacturing, technology, health care, Education and trade, and controls, entirely, the industries and every sector of life on a global scale, providing the essential building blocks for sustainable economic, political and social networks and development.
The increased reference to standardisation as a regulatory instrument in Africa by Political actors, Economists and Industrialists, and the bold step which are being undertaken by the standardisation stakeholders and Partners in Africa, such as the development of Pan African Quality Policy, in the context of the Abuja Treaty of 1991, can only be coherently maintained with sufficient standardisation expertise in the Socio-economic and political realms and as a means of enhancing research and innovation. These highlights the definite need for standards expertise, hence the ARSO African Standardisation Education Programme initiative.
The ARSO Standards Education Programme targets to equip the African Youth with the knowledge about the role of standardisation in sustainable development and is geared towards scaling up the initiatives which have been developed and launched in many African countries, so that, public authorities, industry, Quality Infrastructure Institutions and the academia/educational institutions are aware about the benefits of education about standardization and agitate for the inclusion of Standardisation Education Programmes in the national Education systems, based on a continental Master plan, which aims at stimulating dialogue and improving its quality and attractiveness for all stakeholders.