The need for a geoscience education roadmap for Africa
Geoscience education is a key factor in the academic, scientific and professional progress of any modern society. Africa is a priority for UNESCO and education is crucial for the development of the whole continent. The International Union of Geological Science (IUGS) shares this view, and considers geoscience education in Africa as a focal point in mobilizing knowledge, information, skills, and initiatives. In order to advance in earth science education and research, a key factor will be to use
... ctor will be to use all partnership resources (universities, research organizations and societies, geological surveys, policy makers (e.g. Ministry of Mines), and also private companies) which are involved in the respective African countries. King (2011) in his article entitled "In a trade war, would you rather have armies of lawyers or geologists?" stated several important points regarding this subject. We quote here just one paragraph: "50,000 students are studying geology in China today. That number is well over 25 times the number of college students who are studying geology in the U.S. This is an important development. There is a revolution occurring in the scientific approach to understanding the Earth. The fields that make up geology, and related Earth and space sciences, are currently undergoing major advances that promote understanding of our planet as a number of interrelated systems. Many new realms of scientific investigation are emerging through the study of the connections and interactions between the atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, cryosphere, solid Earth, and near space. Furthermore, geoscientists are playing critical roles in recognizing the extent and magnitude of human impact on the entire Earth system. And this understanding is gaining new context via the growth in knowledge of processes on other planets. So the more people who are out there and who understand at least the basics of geology (let alone the really hard stuff), the better for that nation". (King, 2011) Geoscience education is becoming very important, not only in developed and emerging economies but even more in continents like Africa where most of the areas are not explored, not mapped and many of the potential natural resources are not known. Those that are explored and some that are being mined might have been known or The African continent is a geological paradise for its geodiversity and richness of natural resources. Geoscience education is essential as it provides opportunities for social/cultural, academic, scientific and professional growth and development. Despite several initiatives that have been started recently on this subject, they have not yielded concrete actions, due to the complexity of the African scenario, and also to the lack of clear and tailor-made geoscientific guidelines. This article summarizes the main recommendations and declarations, which currently exist and have been adopted since 2006, involving partnership and capacity building on geoeducation. The article highlights the launching of a new mid to long term, IUGS-based project named GEO-ERA: GEOscience Education Roadmap for Africa. Here we make a call upon all interested African and international institutions, organizations, societies and associations to collaborate and assist and be a part of the development and construction of the GEO-ERA, as well as in the execution of the geoeducational activites.