The five-year UNHCR Ethiopia Education Strategy covering mid-2020 to 2025 confirms the importance that UNHCR and partners accord to education as a key social sector and means of protection. It details priorities and ways of addressing them, furthering the commitment to the realization of the arrangements set out in the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR). In this regard, the strategy articulates UNHCR’s emerging ‘catalytic and supportive role’ in pursuing the GCR more as an advocate and convener of a broad range of stakeholders rather than a traditional implementer and funder of in-camp education projects. Overall the strategy directly relates to the emerging vision of UNHCR; that “Refugees (POC) in Ethiopia are primarily self-reliant, residing out of camps, engaged economically in the larger society and included in improved national services and protection systems, and at the centre of decision-making that affects their own lives and livelihoods.”The strategy translates necessary arrangements into action, applying the principles of solidarity, responsibility sharing and drawing on cooperation between humanitarian and development partners towards increasing the access to quality learning opportunities from pre-school to tertiary education for refugees and host communities. The strategy is aligned with the UNHCR Global Refugee Education 2030 Strategy, as well as the emerging 2020-2024 United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF) in Ethiopia and specifically SDG 4.
The strategy builds on the Government of Ethiopia’s (GoE) numerous pledges and commitments on refugee education by ensuring that refugees hosted in Ethiopia are increasingly accounted for in the national education sector and investment plans alongside nationals at the same time, as these national systems are being improved in refugee-hosting areas. The shift in the provision of refugee education from largely camp-based (humanitarian) to national host-area (development) is essential, as well as achievable. This calls for alignment and concerted efforts among different partners and the Government in addressing education policy issues, and modification of the sector investment modalities that catalyze and sustain inclusion of refugees in the national system.
Importantly, funding predictability for refugee education in Ethiopia needs to be established on a medium- and long-term basis. This will enable the Ministry of Education (MoE) to follow through on commitments to service provision and inclusion and ensure that refugee and host community students are prepared equitably to achieve their highest potential in the national education system, wherever they live.
The strategy sets out approaches for achieving the education sector objectives and targets that resonate with the plans and policies. The Strategy further aims to enhance integration with the Protection and other inter-sectoral pillars in Ethiopia, strengthen partnerships, capacity development, innovation and evidence-based planning in order to provide inspiration and guidance for a wide spectrum of stakeholders both within the country and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) region.