THE Zambian government has reiterated its call on the international community to supplement its efforts in ensuring the refugees hosted in the country have access to tertiary education.
Minister of Home Affairs, Stephen Kampyongo said government has been providing free education to refugees at primary level but faces constraints to sponsor those that need to study at tertiary level.
Mr Kampyongo said there is need for concerted efforts from stakeholders as prescribed by the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework to give aid including education to refugees and the host.
ZANIS reports that the Minister was speaking when he officiated at the World Refugee Day commemoration under the theme, “Everyone can make a difference, every action counts,” which has been localized to “support refugee education.”
“Using the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework’s whole of society approach to hosting refugees, I wish to call upon you all, the international community both humanitarian and development actors, institutions of higher learning, private sector institutions, faith based organisations and financial institutions to support government in ensuring that refugees have access to tertiary education,” he said.
Speaking earlier, United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees (UNHCR) Country Representative, Pierrine Aylara commended the Zambian government for the leadership and commitment shown towards the implementation of the Global Compact on Refugees.
Ms Aylara noted that beyond making the pledges, the Zambian government has set the stage for refugees to enjoy basic rights and services through their inclusion in national programmes across all sectors.
She observed that a critical gap remains in the mobilization of resources by the donor community and development partners to match the commitment demonstrated by government.
Meanwhile, a refugee representative, Nsananikiye Donatuen called on UNHCR to lobby for more funding for tertiary education because the number of students in 2021 will increase following the suspension of the DAFI scholarship this year.
Mr Donatien disclosed that due to the outbreak of Covid-19, the DAFI scholarship programme which is administered through Caritas Czech Republic has been suspended this year.
Speaking at the same event, a beneficially of the DAFI scholarship, Jeremie Bahati who is a trained Clinical Officer said the scholarship programme has enabled many refugees to further their education and contribute to the economic development of the host country.
He thanked development actors and the Zambian government for giving refugees an opportunity to be educated and contribute to the country hosting them which was not the case in the past.