For the third year in row, the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research (MoER), increases its financial support to UNESCO's education programme. Together with a contribution of 1.5 million to UNESCO-IOC, this year's support of 3,5 million Norwegian Kroner (USD 415,000) is the largest financial contribution for the education programme that Norway has ever allocated to outside the annual assessed contributions, demonstrating the Ministry's continued commitment to SDG 4 and SDG 14.
The targeted focus of Norway's contribution is to improve policies, plans and learning opportunities to expand inclusion in education for vulnerable populations, with particular attention to persons with learning challenges, including disabilities, and to crisis-affected populations.
For instance, and thanks to the financial support from the Norwegian MoER and technical support from the Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education (NOKUT), including from other donors contributing to the above-mentioned focus through a Multi-Donor Programme, implementation of the UNESCO Qualifications Passport for Refugees and Vulnerable Migrants (UQP) is underway. The UQP was first launched in Zambia in 2019, resulting in the first UQPs issued to refugees lacking documentation of higher education and upper-secondary qualifications.
In October 2021, implementation in Zambia resumed following the lifting of sanitary restrictions, with 45 UQP candidates from the Meheba refugee settlement currently having their qualifications assessed by credential evaluators from NOKUT and the Zambia Qualifications Authority (ZAQA), supported by the UNHCR, the Commissioner for Refugees, and the Zambian Ministry of Home Affairs and Internal Security.
As of 2021, the programme is also being implemented in Iraq, and UNESCO is inviting more Member States to join the programme to support refugees' and vulnerable migrants to access further education or to finding relevant work, thus improving their self-sustainability and dignity.