Igad’s Commitment To Including All Refugees In National Education Systems

A regional approach towards, and collective responsibility for, including refugee children in national education systems through backing political commitments with actions.  

Location: IGAD region in the Eastern and Horn of Africa

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  Sawda*, 13, is enrolled in the Alternative Basic Education programme (ABE) for Somali refugees in Ethiopia.       Somalia and Ethiopia are members of IGAD - the Intergovernmental Authority on Development..   © Save The Children/Jonathan Hyams

Sawda*, 13, is enrolled in the Alternative Basic Education programme (ABE) for Somali refugees in Ethiopia. Somalia and Ethiopia are members of IGAD - the Intergovernmental Authority on Development..

© Save The Children/Jonathan Hyams

The IGAD (Intergovernmental Authority on Development) region in the Eastern and Horn of Africa hosts more than 7.5 million forcedly displaced people (refugees and IDPs) living in impoverished, underdeveloped and often hard to reach communities.

However, despite the many challenges faced, practical action is being taken to recognise the right to quality education for every child. A recent example is a high-level political commitment expressed by the IGAD Heads of State and Government (in their Summit held in March 2017) and the signing of the Djibouti Declaration in December 2017. Education Ministers from IGAD Member States committed to ensure that every refugee, returnee, and host community child has access to quality education in a safe learning environment. Signatories include the governments of Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda.

The signatory governments intend to back their words with action, delivering this commitment by including refugees in national education sector plans by 2020, simplifying mechanisms and establishing regional minimum education standards and targets on access and quality, and creating a framework and mechanism for recognition of qualifications throughout the region to allow mobility of students across borders.

IGAD is firmly convinced that, in addition to what individual member states do, the regional approach is indispensable in galvanizing support, shaping regional policies/strategies, compiling and sharing best practices and providing regular platforms for dialogue and setting common agendas. Most importantly, the regional approach will help countries in conflict and post conflict situations who would need to build their capacities through collaborative efforts.

The recent Experts’ Meeting adopted draft policy and strategic documents to ensure effective implementation of the Djibouti Declaration and its Plan of Action. The Meeting also adopted operational plans which will be endorsed by the Second Ministerial Conference of IGAD in charge of education. The Conference will take place in December 2018 at in Ethiopia. The Conference will review progress and adopt the roadmap for enhanced implementation in the years to come.

For more information please contact Fathia, A.,. Alwan, Ag Director Social Development   fathia.alwan@igad.int  and Dr. Kebede Kassa Tsegaye, Coordinator, IGAD Education Program kebede.tsegaye@igad.int