Education Above All (EAA) Foundation announced plans to build a global consensus on recognising the academic credentials of migrants and refugee children at the 2018 Global Education Meeting in Brussels, Belgium.
As representatives from around the world gather to discuss progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), EAA has announced a global initiative to develop agreements on recognising the educational achievement of school-age children who have had to flee their homes or chosen to migrate to another country.
During a parallel panel session hosted by EAA, Unesco and UNHCR, and moderated by renowned BBC correspondent Yalda Hakim, panellists including Maha Mamo, a former stateless person; Karim Albrem from the Global Youth Advisory Committee of UNHCR; Dr Alexandru Manus from the Southern New Hampshire University’s Office of Academic Quality, Accreditation and Support; and Stig Arne Skjerven from the Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education and Norwegian Enic-Naric, called for systematic amendments to be made regarding the way educational achievements of refugees and migrants are recognised.
The proposed changes will enable refugees and migrant children to have an equal opportunity to learn, and become productive members of society in their host communities.
Leena al-Derham, senior education specialist at EAA Foundation, said: “The current system unfairly impacts refugees and migrants, yet ample instances exist that demonstrate the effectiveness of accrediting educational achievements in higher education. These examples of co-operation can serve as a blueprint for certifying attainment and skills at other levels of the education system, too.
“We know this can be done. If we are successful, we remove a huge barrier faced by an entire generation, many of whom just want the chance to finish their education and learn the skills they need to one-day return home and help rebuild the communities they had left behind.”
With 64mn children still without access to primary education, and almost half a million more out-of-school refugee children this year compared to 2017, the scale of this problem is increasing faster than the combined efforts can address it, EAA said in a press statement.
“EAA will be calling on its fellow SDG members to build upon what it has collectively learned, and dramatically scale up work to educate the increasing number of migrants and refugee children - and out-of-school children everywhere. This will be critical to achieve SDG4 and the wider SDG framework, and EAA will continue to negotiate with the steering committee to advocate for collective action,” the statement noted.
EAA said it was proud of the decision by UN member states taken on November 13 to adopt the refugee compact and to commit to seeing the recognition of credentials for migrant and refugee children and young people. EAA will continue to voice its concern on global stage on important issues and to ensure every child and young person has the right to access education, it added.