The IGAD Education, Science, Technology, and Innovation program, housed within the Division of Health and Social Development, has been a cornerstone of IGAD’s initiatives since the 2015-2020 five-year strategic plan. Its pivotal role gained further prominence with the 2017 Djibouti Declaration, particularly emphasizing education for refugees, returnees, and host communities.
In 2018, IGAD embraced essential frameworks like the Regional Education Policy Framework and the Regional TVET strategy, prioritizing quality and inclusive education. In the pursuit of excellence, IGAD crafted a comprehensive regional qualification framework, endorsed by Member States and partner agencies, awaiting ministerial approval in the first quarter of this year. Alongside, a regional scholarship scheme was initiated, admitting the inaugural cohort at the International University of Africa (IUA) in Khartoum, Sudan. Unfortunately, due to the 2023 conflict in Khartoum, these students were evacuated. IGAD is guiding them to join universities in their respective countries, submitting admission papers for IGAD’s assistance.
Quality education also involves nurturing teachers’ professional growth through training and capacity-building, aligning with the Djibouti Declaration. IGAD actively implemented the Declaration and related tools, conducting teacher training in Pilot Member States: Ethiopia, Sudan, and Uganda. Between January 2021 and November 2022, 751 secondary school teachers in refugee and displacement settings, including 259 females, underwent training in pedagogical, psychosocial, life-skill, and ICT modules. A regional workshop in June 2021 aimed to share lessons and experiences in teacher training.
IGAD believes teacher training enhances education quality, student motivation, and psychosocial well-being, facilitating smoother transitions to tertiary education and improving teachers’ living conditions. Moreover, it fosters social cohesion and mutual understanding, mitigating psychosocial tensions and trauma from conflict and cultural differences among students.
In conclusion, the IGAD Education Program tackles regional education needs by creating policy spaces, fostering political will, and translating the Djibouti Declaration into actionable steps. Teachers’ professional development stands central to IGAD’s efforts, striving to make learning attractive, sound, and enjoyable, contributing to completing education cycles and fostering peace and stability in the region.
The IGAD Education Program’s experiences, particularly on Teacher Training and Djibouti Declaration implementation, are documented on the Global Refugee Forum (GRF) website. Modules are being designed and printed for posting on the IGAD website. Published papers like “Leading by Example: Translating the Djibouti Declaration into Action through Refugee Teacher Professional Development” and “Processes, Products, and Lessons in Translating Policies into Practice: The Case of IGAD Teacher Training Initiative in Refugee and Host Community Secondary Schools” are available. IGAD remains steadfast in prioritizing education, science, technology, and innovation at Member State, regional, and international levels in the upcoming years.