The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) organized a regional conference of Ministers of Education Arabs held in Sharm el-Sheikh from 27-29 January, 2015 and was attended by representatives of 22 Arab countries. 

Dr. Mohamed Sameh Amr, Egypt's ambassador to UNESCO and Chairman of the Executive Board of the Organization, said that the selection of UNEASCO Egypt to be the headquarters for the meeting was because of a number of reasons. One, to confirm that pioneering role of Egypt in the region in the field of education, considering Egypt's has a lot of experience in this field. Two, to confirm stability witnessed by Egypt. Moreover, the choice of Egypt being UNESCO's headquarters for the meeting represents recognition and acknowledgment of the UN organization.

The conclusion of the work of the Arab Ministers of Education Conference:

1. They confirm that education is a basic human right and a precondition of sustainable and comprehensive development conditions.

2. Tight final statement of the conference on the need for cooperation between the Arab states to develop comprehensive strategies and build partnerships to address the instability in the Arab countries and the problems of refugees and displaced persons.

3. The conference needs to be characterized by flexible education systems to promote social cohesion, tolerance and peace and to ensure the enrollment of refugee education.

4. The conference needs to increase efforts in the field of early childhood to ensure the quality of the system and also remove barriers to people with disabilities that prevent access to the right to education, as recommended by integration citizenship and national belonging, tolerance and acceptance of others within the educational systems values.

5. The conference stressed the need to provide continuing professional development for teachers and provides the necessary support to them. It also stressed the importance of the work on the development of national systems for monitoring and surveillance in the field of educational research pilot.

6. The conference will increase efforts to provide nine years of formal education free, compulsory and of good quality for all by 2030, with the reference to the need to pay early childhood education special attention.

7. They will support the provision of formal and informal education programs and learning of young people and adults, including literacy in cooperation with all governmental and non-governmental partners.

8. They acknowledge that the interest in the quality of education is a priority in the Arab region. Therefore, it should improve all aspects of the quality of education, development and investment in policies, programs and procedures in monitoring and evaluation system and education outcomes.

9. Since the quality of education is mainly based on the teachers efficiency, they recognize that in spite of the increase in the number of qualified teachers who have certificates and degrees, it must provide continuing professional development and provide the necessary support to all teachers and educators and departments of the school and members of the technical bodies to help, taking good practices in the region into account and the exchange of information about them.

10. They also reaffirm their commitment to improve vocational and technical education and university systems to connect and prepare young people to the needs of the labor market, as well as directing them and provide them with opportunities to enable them to become productive citizens taking part in the overall development of their communities.

11. The system of governance and management of the most important areas that must be improved in the work program beyond 2015, so they will work together to support accountability procedures and activate the role of the community to rationalize the decision related to education.

12. They call on UNESCO, in cooperation with the participants of the conference in the education for all and other partners to continue to lead and coordinate the development of business education agenda what comes beyond 2015, and the framework of its work agencies. They also recommend continuing to UNESCO to provide technical support for the implementation, monitoring and enhancing accountability for the agenda of education beyond 2015.

13. They stress the importance of coordination and cooperation between working in the field of education organizations and in particular the Arab organization for education, culture and science and the Arab Bureau of education for the Gulf states and the Arab League and the Islamic Organization for Education, Culture and Science in everything that would implement the work education program beyond 2015.

14. Recognizing the challenges that their part of the latest developments and challenges, such as delays in economic growth and rise in unemployment, they will seek to insure the integrity of the priorities in the field of education within the broad development framework for their countries and in the agenda of national development and ensures continued political support form the highest levels and to promote community mobilization.

15. They are committed to continue their efforts in preparation for their participation in the World Education Forum 2015 to be held in Incheon, Republic of Korea, from 19 to 22 May, 2015 and in the follow-up results.

Written by Inaam Elhindawy