The Government of Turkey and the UNICEF Regional Office for Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CEE/CIS) co-organized a Ministerial Conference on the theme of ‘including all children in quality learning’. The Conference was held in Istanbul from 10-13 December 2013. The high-level event launched a Call for Action to advance equity in education participation and learning and to contribute to on-going regional discussions on the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
The Call for Action marked the beginning of a regional initiative that will bring a critical mass of countries together to work collaboratively toward including all out of school children in quality learning.
In the context of the regional discussions of the post-2015 agenda in education, the overall purpose of the Ministerial Conference was to provide a renewed impetus and foster a greater political commitment toward closing equity gaps in both participation and outcomes in basic and upper secondary education in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia, with the view to accelerate reforms at country level.
1. Maintain and accelerate the political momentum around equity in access to and completion of basic education and secondary education in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and reduce the number of children out of school – particularly among young children and adolescents – by launching a call for action that will put in motion a regional initiative to include all children in quality learning ;
2. Promote the importance of the quality and relevance of learning as a way to realize universal participation and increase completion rates in basic and upper-secondary education in the region;
3. Promote an inter-sectoral approach to education inclusion, and in particular to the issue of out of school children;
4. Provide an opportunity and a forum to allow learners – particularly adolescents and youth – to get their voice heard, regarding the quality and relevance of the education they are offered.
1) The Ministerial Conference lasted 3.5 days. It consisted of two components: the first, launched the Call for Action and the second acted as a forum for exchange on strategies for implementing the Call for Action.
2) A two-day Preparatory Meeting was organized in Turkey prior to the Ministerial Conference with the main purpose of preparing and validating the Call for Action to ‘Include All Children in Quality Learning’. The Call for Action and its key messages were developed by representatives of countries in the region, and their key partners. The preparatory meeting consisted of expert roundtables on key thematic issue and working sessions to draft the Call for Action.
3) A Consultation with Adolescents and Youth took place in September (2-6 September 2013), in advance of the preparatory meeting, to ensure the meaningful participation of youth in the Call for Action and the Ministerial Conference. The goals of the Forum were: a) To empower young people with enhanced advocacy and social mobilization skills so that they may participate effectively in the Ministerial Conference and subsequent Regional Education Initiative, and b) to define and prepare their contributions (written and/or otherwise) to the Call for Action and the Ministerial Meeting.