02 Apr 2023
– Dear Vice Chancellors for Our Partner Universities,
– Deputy Vice Chancellor…
– Head of different Organizations,
– Distinguished Guests and Delegates,
– Friends of the University of Rwanda,
– All protocol observed
– Good morning !
First and forest, I would like to welcome you all to Rwanda and to the University of Rwanda in particular. I also bring you greetings from the Hon. Minister of Education, Dr. Uwamariya Valentine ! She would have wished to be with you but she has another pressing assignment at the moment.
On a special note, I would like to express my gratitude to you all for having accepted our invitation to attend this 1st International Conference On Re-Shaping Education for Sustainable Development under the theme Re-thinking Holistic Education for the 4th Industrial Revolution.
Today, we are in the midst of the Fourth Industrial Revolution that affects businesses and economies in ways that we never thought before. If we are going to confront the challenges ahead of us, it is critically that we re-think the roles of Universities as transformative spaces. As actors in this space, we also should constantly interrogate what kind of research we generate, with whom and for whom ? Far too long, Universities has been hailed as cradles of ground- breaking innovations in science, business, technology, engineering, healthcare, entrepreneurship and other disciplines. On a few occasions, Universities have also been criticized for being a little detached from those to whom we owe so much ! Those who are less privileged and unfortunate to understand the complex knowledge systems we create ! We should be alert to avoid this latter situation !
As scholars, researchers, academicians, educational practitioners, development partners in education in Rwanda, and policy makers, we should have the urgency to conduct ground breaking scientific research but bound by the ethics of care, ethics of Justice and acceptance of critique and humility : By embracing all these in our research works, we creates sustainable futures for mankind.
The theme for this conference is aligned to Rwanda’s vision 2050 but more so to SDG 4 targets which we share as a Globe especially target 4.7 and I quote ‘By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and nonviolence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development’. It is therefore imperative that innovative education and research strategies are devised to adequately prepare current and future generations to proactively confront such challenges.
Ladies and gentlemen, you will agree with me that one of the most important paths to sustainable development in Africa and elsewhere in the World is high-quality education. Therefore, conferences like this one provide a forum for the exchange of ideas, experiences and best practices regarding ways to enhance the quality of education for sustainable development. I challenge every one of us to use this forum to establish and strengthen professional networks, share innovative practices in teacher education and rekindle our energies to venture into the unknown, for, Albert Einstein once said, “If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it ? During this conference, may you find that person who is going to challenge you to boldly engage in the kind of research you have previously avoided because you thought it was so challenging !
I take this opportunity to congratulate the University of Rwanda, college of Education (UR-CE) for organizing this important event. I would like to express my gratitude to Mastercard Foundation for funding the activities of Leaders in Teaching (LIT) Imitative Project at the College of Education and the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), Great Lakes for having contributed to the organization of this conference.
I deeply thank the keynote speakers, chairs of sessions, panelists and all our participants to honoring our invitation.
With these few remarks, I declare this conference open and wish you all fruitful deliberations.
God bless you all.
Francoise K Tengera
UR DVC Finance and Representative of SDSN Greatlakes, on behalf the UR VC
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