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The Educational Research Network for West and Central Africa (ERNWACA) or Réseau Ouest et Centre African de Recherche en Education (ROCARE) was established in 1989 in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Currently, ERNWACA is managing a wide range of programs and projects in its seventeen member countries. These countries are :
- the ten French-speaking countries of Benin, Burkina Faso, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Central African Republic, Senegal and Togo
- the two bilingual countries of Cameroon and Mauritania
- the lusophone country of Guinea Bissau, and
- the four English-speaking countries of Gambia, Ghana, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.
Conceived at its inception as an informal forum whose key mission was to bring together West and Central African researchers in Education, ERNWACA’s contribution to the construction of a knowledge base on educational research and to its use for improving educational practice and formulating evidence-based policies in West and Central Africa, has been outstanding. It is now generally acknowledged that ERNWACA has emerged as one of West and Central Africa’s pre-eminent institutions for Educational Research. Undoubtedly, since its founding in 1989, ERNWACA’s collaborations (in educational research) with the Ministries of Education in the region, with the Donor community, and with the Universities, have fostered the production of knowledge and the use of technology for the betterment of Education in the region. However, ERNWACA is now entering into a new phase of institutional renewal and this necessitates organizing activities which aim at continuing to secure its place as a foremost resource for educational research in West and Central Africa. A new strategic direction is required in an educational environment marked by a dwindling of financial resources and a decline in the quality and relevance of education .
The Vision, Mission, Values, General Objectives and Goals of ERNWACA
The vision, mission, values, general objectives and goals of ERNWACA cut to the heart of what ERNWACA stands for. As an organisation, it conducts its on-going planning and utilizes the results of the assessment of its activities for its organizational renewal.
The vision is to be, by the year 2020, at the forefront in providing research services for educational development in Africa.
The mission is to promote African expertise in Educational research and a culture of research in order to improve Education policy and practice in ERNWACA’s member countries. The mission is thus concerned with increasing research capacity and with strengthening collaboration among researchers, practitioners and decision-makers in Education.
ERNWACA’s strategic plans are infused with the values that inform all its activities and these values are :
- responsiveness to the Education communities that it serves,
- collaborations with an array of partners
- democratic participation in the decision-making process with regard to its research projects
- objectivity in educational research (in the sense of ensuring, as far as possible, that its research findings are independent of the circumstances of its research and are interpreted in a correct way)
- sharing of relevant information
- maintenance of ethical principles in educational research
The General Objectives
ERNWACA’s general objectives are to :
- Build national and regional capacities for research and for policy evaluation in Education
- Improve the quality and relevance of educational research for practitioners and decision-makers in Education
- Disseminate research findings in order to stimulate public dialogue and advocacy in Education
- Strengthen the network as a sustainable regional institution
- Make provision for the mentoring of Junior researchers
- Encourage policy-makers to get involved in ERNWACA programmes and other activities.
ERNWACA’s goals are :
- To be an established research community for assisting with the development of the Education sector in the region.
- The production of published educational research and development materials to full capacity in both quality and quantity
- To have an organisational structure which ensures its accountability
- The continuing provision of educational research services that meet the educational needs of its diverse constituencies.