ZAMBIAN GOVERNMENT AND UNESCO ISSUE 90 UNESCO QUALIFICATIONS PASSPORT

The Zambian government and the United Nations Children’s Agency (UNESCO) have issued UNESCO Qualifications Passport (UQP) to 90 refugees and Zambian students who were displaced by wars in Ukraine and Sudan.

The UQP is a United Nations document which allows students and refugees to continue with their education following the loss of student documentation due to conflicts.

Acting Education Minister Hon. Felix Mutati says Zambia is providing a conducive environment for it’s citizens and refugees to further their education in the country.

Speaking shortly before he issued the UNESCO Qualifications Passports to the students, Mr. Mutati said Zambia is grateful that it was the first country to ratify the UQP in 2019 and has so far been issued the largest number of UNESCO Qualifications Passport so far.

“As a country, we are doing our best to prepare a good path for education. We are dealing with quality and access to education by implementing free education, employing teachers and putting up infrastructure,” said Hon. Mutati.

He said in the past two years, government has increased enrolments for pupils from 4,000 to 6,000 due to free education.

Hon. Mutati also revealed that with the help of the World Bank, 1,200 schools are being built across the country to increase access to education.

And UNESCO Assistant Director General Stefania Giannini thanked the Zambian government for being proactive in helping refugees and displaced students access education.

Ms. Giannini said of the 90 beneficiaries in Zambia, 83 are refugees from outside the country and 7 are Zambian students who were displaced due to conflicts in Ukraine and Sudan.

“We are happy that Zambia has 90 people receiving the UQP. We hope the number can increase in future,” said Ms. Giannini.

She noted that worldwide, only 6 percent of refugees have access to higher education.

Ms. Giannini said the UNESCO Qualifications Passport helps vulnerable youths to continue with their education and change their lives.

Meanwhile, Farouk Banda, a Zambian student who was displaced from his university in Ukraine has thanked government and President Hakainde Hichilema for evacuating Zambian students from Ukraine and Sudan.

Mr. Banda said students went through alot of difficulties when running away from wartorn Ukraine and Sudan and they lost all their documentation.

“You did not just evacuate Zambian students, you also evacuated people of other nationalities,” he said as he shed tears.

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