Experts call for quality education for refugees in Africa


ADDIS ABABA, June 20 (Xinhua) -- Experts at a panel discussion on Thursday called for ensuring quality education for refugees as a critical enabler to address Africa's refugee crisis.

The discussion, held at the African Union (AU) headquarters in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, brought together experts from the AU, various UN agencies, and representatives of continental and international organizations.

Buti Kale, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) representative to the AU, highlighted access to quality education as a primary need for refugees, especially children, across Africa.

Less than half of refugee children are attending school, leading to negative consequences such as susceptibility to recruitment by armed groups, he said, noting that increasing access to education is crucial for achieving the continental goal of building an inclusive, integrated, and prosperous Africa.

Kale also stressed the importance of implementing a proper and harmonized certification system for refugees attending school in host countries. Such a system would enhance refugees' productivity and their ability to contribute positively to both their host and home countries upon return.

Experts at the panel discussion called for mobilizing political will, resources and partnerships to support refugee education initiatives. Ewumbue Monono, the permanent representative of Cameroon to the AU, said African countries and pan-African institutions need to promote access to education for refugees, aligning with their strong solidarity and open-door policies.

Solomon Dersso, founding director of Amani Africa, an independent pan-African policy research think tank, said education facilities are often targeted by armed conflicts and violence across the continent. He said protecting educational facilities would significantly promote a better future for refugees and facilitate their return to places of origin once the root causes of displacement are addressed.

The panel discussion took place alongside the AU's commemoration of World Refugee Day, aiming to raise awareness about the importance of inclusive and equitable education for refugees at all levels, from early childhood to tertiary and vocational training.

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