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12/12/2017, Djibouti (Djibouti): The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in partnership with the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Djibouti this morning opened the First Regional Conference On Refugee Education in IGAD under the auspices of the Minister of Education of Djibouti, H.E. Mr Moustapha Mohamed Mahamoud. Members of the government of the Republic of Djibouti, IGAD Executive Secretary, H.E. Amb (Eng) Mahboub Maalim, the UNHCR Special Envoy on Somalia Refugee Situation, the UN Resident Coordinator to Djibouti, the Head of the EU Delegation to Djibouti, and the Charge’ d’Affaires of the United States to Djibouti also attended the inauguration ceremony of this conference.

In order to contribute to the global efforts to improve the access to quality education for refugee children and youth in the entire spectrum of education (pre-school, primary, secondary and higher education), IGAD and the Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training (MENFOP) of Djibouti are jointly organising this regional conference on education for refugees living in the IGAD region in the spirit of the forum and ministerial round table on education held in Tanzania in 2016.

The Regional Conference is bringing together regional and sub-regional policy and decision-makers, academics, educationists, bilateral partners, and civil society members from different IGAD countries to look at ways of improving education services for refugees under the thematic of national system inclusion.

The meeting is to assess good practices in education service delivery in the region and make recommendations on strengthening sustainable access to quality education for the benefit of both refugee and host community children and young people.

Ms Fathia Alwan, Acting Director of Social Development Division speaking for IGAD Executive Secretary, assured of her conviction that the conference will be a milestone by initiating the formulation of a unique regional strategy that will meet expectations from the refugee populations’ children.

The rationale for organizing this conference is to:
Maximize opportunities to improve access to quality education and inclusion into national systems  for refugees affected by conflict and to achieve development goals for all;
Establish a collaboration mechanism with members on issues related to education in general and education of refugee in particular.
The following outcomes are expected from the conference:
A concise regional consensus report on principles /standards to guide delivery of education for refugees at national level. An agreed approach to developing a system for recognition of Education Diplomas among Member States;
A Conference Declaration containing the commitment of IGAD countries to implement the recommendations and engage in the agreed collaboration mechanism.
A recent UNHCR education report Left Behind: Refugee Education in Crisis stated that only 61% of refugee children have access to primary education compared with the 91% global average. The situation is much worse at secondary level, where just 23% of refugees are enrolled, compared with 84% globally. Refugee children are five times more likely to be out of the school than the global average.

The conference is supported by the European Union, the German government,  and the UNHCR.

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