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Opening up a world of education

Children love to learn. If they are denied access to knowledge, we also deny them the opportunity to change their lives for the better.

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Global Convention on the Recognition of Higher Education Qualifications Meetings - UNESCO HQ Paris

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First Meeting

5-7 December, 2018

As a global stakeholder in the education sphere, Education Above All (EAA) was invited to observe the United Nation’s Global Convention on the Recognition of Higher Education Qualifications meetings. As an internationally focused foundation, it is part of EAA’s mission to ensure inclusive and equitable education access for vulnerable and marginalised people across the globe, especially those in the developing world. Through previous high-level panel discussions, such as the panel with Ministers of Education at the Global Education Meeting in Brussels and the panel co-hosted with UNHCR and UNESCO, EAA has consistently exhibited support for education access for refugee and internally displaced persons (IDP) populations. During the meetings, EAA helped advocate for an inclusive and equitable convention text, particularly around refugee and internally IDP populations.

Through a combined effort with the Qatari delegation, EAA’s main priorities were to maintain the language of the Lisbon Recognition Convention, a Convention adopted by all European countries, and to advocate for a more inclusive and equitable approach to higher education access with a focus on the most vulnerable and marginalised populations. As an observer, EAA was unable to vote in the meeting, however, we played a critical role in keeping the delegations in alignment with the needs of beneficiaries we represent. At the first meeting, EAA successfully argued against the incorporation of the word “documented” before “prior learning” in the text. This terminology, EAA argued, excludes refugees and IDPs from accessing higher education, since many of these individuals lack formal documentation or do not have access to their official documents. After EAA’s thoughtful remarks on the matter, a majority of the representatives voted in favour of excluding the word “documented.” Throughout the first meeting of the Convention, EAA provided valuable insight to the delegations present on keeping the Convention’s language conscientious of refugee and IDP needs and priorities.

Second Meeting

18-22 March, 2019

During the second meeting, EAA joined the Convention, again, as an observer, reaffirming our role as an advocate for refugees and IDPs. EAA approached the second meeting with the intention of guiding the Convention’s language to be more inclusive of the world’s most vulnerable and marginalised populations. The language and definitions used are critical since they will serve as a reference for all future documents. After networking and building relationships with delegations at the first meeting, EAA leveraged these partnerships to pursue our advocacy efforts in the second meeting. As the sole observer advocating on behalf of refugees and IDPs at the meeting, EAA had a unique position.

EAA drew the Convention’s attention to a point in Article 7, “Recognition of Partial Studies and Qualifications Held by Refugees and Displaced Persons,” which mentioned “relevant requirement” for access to higher education. EAA found that the term “relevant requirement” was not clearly defined in the Convention, giving the state discretion to apply inconsistent definitions of a “relevant requirement.” This discretion, EAA pointed out, did not protect refugees and IDPs from governmental discrimination. EAA collaborated with the Qatari delegation to ensure their argument had the strongest impact. In the discussion that followed, the delegation was split between those in favour of including a definition for “relevant requirement” and those opposed. Ultimately, the chair of the session concluded that each member state will have to clearly define what the requirements are to access higher education at a national level, preventing discrimination against refugees and IDPs. By reminding meeting participants of the importance of language in the Convention, EAA helped advocate for education access for the international community’s refugees and IDPs. The Convention is set to be adopted in November 2019.

Impact

"Humanity will not overcome the immense challenges we face unless we ensure that children get the quality education that equips them to play their part in the modern world." -- HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser

Surpassing

19 million

beneficiaries across all programmes of Education Above All Foundation

10,687

Scholarships

89.5%

retention rate

2.6 million+

Skills training provided to teachers, school staff, and community members

1 million+

Youth Empowered