Dar es Salaam, Tanzania – The EALA Committee on Regional Affairs and Conflict Resolution (RACR) held public hearings on 20 March 2014 in Dar es Salaam. The objective was to solicit experts’ opinion and consider input to be incorporated in the East African Community (EAC) Integration (Education) Bill before it comes for the Second and Third Reading during the next EALA Plenary Session in Arusha, Tanzania on 4-12 April 2014.
The public hearings in Dar es Salaam are part of a series of hearings held in the EAC, initiated in September 2013, when the RACR Committee organised experts’ public hearings in Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Kenya. These public hearings gave rise to the EAC Integration (Education) Bill, 2014. This Bill deals with civic education in the region and aims to equip East African citizens with the necessary skills and information about the EAC. Furthermore, the Bill seeks to establish a Unit within the Office of the EAC Secretary General, mandated to coordinate integration education in the EAC Partner States. The proposed Unit is to develop educational materials and set standards and quality control measures. The Bill was introduced for First Reading during EALA’s Plenary Session in Kampala, Uganda, in January 2014.
The Committee was represented by Hon. Twaha Issa Taslima, Hon. Charles Makongoro Nyerere and Hon. Abubakar Zein Abubakar. They met with representatives from the ministries of EAC Affairs, Home Affairs, Information, Local Government, Gender and Education, as well as representatives from the Law reform Commission and the Media Council of Tanzania. During the meeting, stakeholders raised concerns over the lack of background information on the issues the proposed Bill aims to address. In addition, stakeholders questioned whether the establishment of the Unit requires an Act, given that other departments within the EAC Secretariat were not formed by an independent Act. Furthermore, stakeholders asked how the new Unit will work with the EAC Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Department, which has similar responsibilities.
The entire RACR Committee also met on 27 March 2014 to consider the input they received from the stakeholders in the different EAC Partner States. The Integration (Education) Bill will be tabled for a Second and Third Reading on 2-3 April 2014 during the EALA Plenary Session in Arusha, Tanzania.