"This year we made sure that we catered to everyone involved in education: from the teachers, principals, the education departments, to the suppliers of books and technology and of course, the learners. Seeing one packed school bus after another arrive at the Career Indaba was a real highlight", says Claire O'Connell, African Education Week's programme director.
"It was the first time we organised Career Indaba as part of Education Week and more than 4 000 learners from all over Gauteng attended the expo, excited to meet with educational institutions and prospective employers."
According to O'Connell the additional Career Indaba expo meant a 191% increase in visitors and a 33% growth in exhibitors.
Diamond sponsor Macmillan South Africa spearheaded some 90 educational institutions and industry suppliers that exhibited in the Learning Expo and Career Indaba. More than 10 local and international universities had stands with Edudome's onsite planetarium a firm favourite amongst the visitors.
While education professionals apprised themselves of the latest technological teaching aids, school leavers attended free workshops on career orientation, including talks by celebrities like Jamali singer Jacqui Carpede and 5fm DJ, MC and model Poppy Ntshongwa. Many lucky visitors also went home with big prizes such as DStv decoders, iPadss, E-readers, kindles and printers.
The African Education Week is now recognised as one of the largest education events on the continent with 80 education experts and professionals that addressed this year's conference sessions.
Says O'Connell, "discussions went beyond the critical issues effecting education and rather looked at solutions through information exchanges, sharing ideas and tested strategies and open panel debates."
The opening keynote session hosted by independent education expert Graeme Bloch featured the Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training, Mduduzi Manana, KwaZulu- Natal's MEC for Education Senzo Mchunu, and Anne van Zyl, head of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls.
The African Education Week and Career Indaba will return to the Sandton Convention Centre next year from 4-6 July.
Fore more, go to www.educationweek.co.za