IGAD Students To Study In Any Member State Under New Proposal
Students enrolled in the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) program will soon be able to study in any of the member countries.
Education ministers and policymakers are drafting a harmonised qualifications framework that will enable students from member countries to also take up jobs across the region.
Speaking during the third conference of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad), the stakeholders said the adoption of such policies is long overdue.
This is part of an ongoing effort to develop a regionally harmonised qualification framework. Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Djibouti, Uganda, South Sudan, and Eritrea are the members.
Students in the eight East African countries will be able to transfer course credit and other academic credentials to other schools and workplaces in the region once a qualification framework is completed by the end of this year.
Prof. Juma Mukhwana, managing director of the Kenya National Qualification Authority (KNQA), stated that the purpose of establishing a regional qualification framework is to enable citizens from member countries to work and study in any member country without encountering obstacles, as is currently the case.
“Each member state will come up with its own qualification framework, which will be aligned to the IGAD regional framework.
“The reason why we are doing this is that we have a lot of citizens moving across the borders for different reasons and the whole idea is to make it easier for one to move across the regions with his or her qualifications to work or for further studies,” said Mukhwana.
Mukwana was speaking at the second regional consultative meeting on the IGAD regional qualification framework proposal.
“Once we have the regional framework, we shall set standards and harmonise our qualifications so that it makes you easier to move across the member states to work or study,” he said.
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Mukhwana clarified that the various education curricula will not interfere with the qualifications framework.
The KNQA CEO stated that the framework will eliminate long-standing challenges such as obtaining fake foreign qualifications and translation issues.
‘‘We will have one place where one can go and convert his or her qualifications in affair and transparent way without disadvantaging the person or learner,’’ he said.
According to Dr. Kebede Tsegaye, Igad regional senior program coordinator for education, science, and technology, the harmonised qualification program is part of regional integration.
“We are not pushing to have a similar curriculum for the region but a harmonised framework that will enable students and our citizens to study and work anywhere using similar qualifications,” he said.
The Igad region is home to approximately 4.2 million refugees and 9.6 million internally displaced people.
The vast majority of the population has been forcibly evicted from their homes and villages as a result of ongoing conflicts.
The vision for developing a regional qualifications framework is to create a more conducive environment for citizens of the region to have access to quality education.
It will also strengthen mechanisms at the national, regional, and international levels for recognizing and assessing the equivalence of educational standards and qualifications.
According to Dr Fatuma Adan, the head of the Igad mission in Kenya, the framework will be a major pillar as a tool for regional integration.
“If we have allowed ourselves to move across the regions, then we need a harmonised qualification framework that enables everyone within the region to work anywhere with their education qualifications,” she said.
Education stakeholders urged countries to set regional minimum education standards and targets for access to and delivery of quality education in pre-primary, primary, secondary, and higher education, as well as technical and vocational education training.
The Igad framework roadmap recommends that qualifications allow for transfer, accreditation, and recognition of learning rather than dictating which qualifications can be offered in different member states.