30.09.2010 - UNESCO Office in Beirut

Ministerial Colloquium on Quality of Education in the Arab States

The Ministers of Education of seventeen Arab States have participated in a two-day meeting ( 21-22 September 2010) , in the Qatari capital. The Colloquium was organized and hosted by the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development and the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organisation (ALECSO). UNESCO Beirut Office and regional partners such as The World Bank were invited to this meeting in order to reflect about how to address the urgent need of improving the quality of education across the region.

Despite great progress in access to education, a key MDG, and in the wake of the Education for All (EFA) initiative, the MENA region is now faced with the challenge of ensuring quality education for all. International assessments, as discussed during the Colloquium, suggest that young people in the Arab world currently leave school with levels of numeracy and literacy below the global average, and with a lesser command of the skills increasingly sought after by employers.

In that respect, the Doha Declaration, signed at the end of this ministerial meeting, formalizes the steps to be undertaken in order to improve education quality. It represents a renewed commitment for the countries, in congruence with the progresses already made in the region.

This nationwide awareness can help strengthen political commitment and consensus for education reform throughout the Arab world. One of the main priorities that came out  of the Doha Declaration is to develop adequate monitoring systems, along with continuous  data collection in order to enable transparent and accurate evaluation and assessment. In addition, the Declaration encourages the restructuring of national education systems so as to meet autonomy and accountability, thus ensuring clear and transparent education policies and fostering broad community participation.

The states taking part in the Ministerial Colloquium on Quality of Education in the Arab World were: Algeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Oman, the Palestinian National Authority, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

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