Education Cornerstone to Realizing Regional Integration Agenda of IGAD

The expansion of education among member states of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) is a cornerstone to realizing regional integration agenda of the bloc, IGAD Health and Social Development Division Director, Mme Fathia Alwan underscored.

The official made the remark at the IGAD-GIZ Regional Teacher Training Learning Exchange Workshop that was kicked off today under the title : “Training the Teachers for Inclusive and Quality Education for Refugees, Returnees and Host Community.

It’s to be recalled that the Djibouti Declaration adopted in 2017, which laid out the key priority areas for equitable, inclusive and quality education for all, with special emphasis on education for refugees, returnees and host communities.

IGAD Health and Social Development Division Director said during the occasion that the declaration calls upon states to simplify the mechanism for refugee children to access quality education and facilitate their rapid entry to the national education system.

According to her, IGAD has been tasked to support the development and implementation processes by IGAD Member states in all the key priority areas.

Thus, the IGAD teacher Training Program (ITTP) is an integral part of the implementation of the Djibouti Declaration and its accompanying Plan of Action (POA) on education for refugees, returnees, IDPs and host communities, she noted.

So far, three countries have participated in the pilot phase, including Ethiopia, Sudan and Uganda throughout the period from February 2021 to June 2022, she added.

The Director further stated that education continues to be a cornerstone of the regional integration agenda of IGAD.

Speaking on the occasion, IGAD education, science, technology and innovation senior coordinator, Dr kebede kassa said training of teachers is needed because there are more than 4.5 million refugees in the IGAD region.

According to him, there are also 14 to 15 million displaced people in the region, of which almost 60 percent are off school children.

Addressing such the needs of refugees of this size is very critical for all member states, Dr Kebede said.

Education in refugees will help the refugees in their effort to build their home countries. If you educate refugees, they will be  good ambassadors of the host countries, he said.

Ministry of Education of Ethiopia Educational Programs Quality Improvement section, Chief Executive Officer, Yohannes Wegasso on his part said Ethiopia is committed to the Djibouti Declaration.

“My government recognizes the importance of education, not only as a fundamental right but also as one of the single most tools for sustainable development.”

Hence, Ethiopia is ready to share its experience with member states delegate, he said.

Ethiopia is hosting more than 800,000 refugees from 24 countries out of which 52 percent are school age children age 3 to 18 years. Significant refugees are studying in government universities, he said.

According to him, a total of 160 thousand refuges enrolled from primary to higher education.


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