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May 29, 2024 (ENTEBBE, Uganda): The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) High – level Technical Experts Meeting on the Djibouti Declaration has adopted a plenary Draft Communique for the 4th Conference of IGAD Ministers in Charge of Education, today, in Entebbe, Uganda.

The High – level Expert meeting is conducted for three days, under the theme: “Towards Quality and Inclusive Education for all.”

Speaking on behalf of the Director of Health and Social Development Division, IGAD, Madam Fathia Alwan, Dr Victoria Anib Head of Social Development calls on High level experts to demonstrate leadership and diligently fulfill their mandate and responsibilities to effectively support relevant ministers in the adoption and endorsement of the IGAD Regional Qualification Framework.

Dr, Victoria explained that the development of the IGAD Regional Qualification framework along with supporting selected Member states to develop their own National Qualification framework and the National coasted plans adopted in all the seven Member States, as well as, the promotion of scholarship opportunities as a means for inclusive education for refugees, returnees and the most in-need host communities were some of the activities undertaken in education and skills-building areas.

“At this juncture, I want to emphasize that education is at the core of IGAD programs”, she added.

Mr Chehem Mohamed, representative of the Minister of National Education and Vocational Training and IGAD Chair disclosed that since 2017, the Republic of Djibouti has made remarkable efforts to integrate refugee children into national education and vocational training strategies and refugee schools are included in 2021-2035 Education and Training Action Plan.

“We are meeting today to take stock of the implementation of the Djibouti Declaration, the Regional Qualification Framework and the integration of refugee schools into national education systems”, he said.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Joseph Kikomeko, Commissioner Technical Vocational Education and Training, Republic of Uganda, as a host country said that the Djibouti Declaration targets provision of access to quality of Education and in safe learning environment.

“Uganda receives refugees’ nearly daily basis. The refugees deserve education since being a refugee is not choice”, Mr. Joseph mentioned.

Mrs. Kokebe Haile Gabriel, Team Leader of GIZ/SIMPI Project in her part noted that the finalization of the IGAD Qualifications Framework is a major achievement and an important first step towards portability of skills for refugee in particular and all citizens of the IGAD Region.

“We would like to commend IGAD for the progress made on the implementation of the Djibouti Declaration and Action Plan. The declaration has truly contributed to include refugees into national education systems and making sure ministries in charge of education consider refugees as part of the national education planning,“she stressed.

Jennie L. Taylor, Senior Education Specialist UNHCR regular Bauer for East and Southern Arica highlighted that the UNHCR is a core Task Team member and has been working with the IGAD Secretariat and member states to ensure refugees and host communities are able to access education and training opportunities in asylum, and on return home.

“We are happy to be able to share with you the preliminary findings of the long awaited evaluation of progress against the Djibouti Declaration in all member states and, we look forward to working together and identify approaches to address key challenges in the region”, she stated.

The three day event brought together high level technical experts responsible for education and discussed a wide-range of issues, including Qualifications Framework, inclusive education, scholarship for refugees, and lessons from the IGAD Teacher Training Initiative.

The meeting was attended by Education Experts of the IGAD Member States, representatives of foreign affairs, Core task force members and the IGAD Secretariat.

Budget for the various activities funded by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

The IGAD High – level Technical Experts Meeting served as a preparatory meeting for the 4th conference on the IGAD Ministers in Charge of Education.

It is to be recalled that in December 2017, IGAD organized the first high-level regional conference of ministers in charge of education in Djibouti. That Conference adopted the Djibouti Declaration and Plan of Action on education for refugees, returnees and host communities.

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