2nd Meeting of SAARC Ministers of Education/Higher Education

News New Delhi, India - 31st October 2014

 The New Delhi Declaration on Education - SAARC





We, the Ministers of Education and heads of delegation of the SAARC Member States (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) met in New Delhi, India, on 31st October 2014, to review our progress on the SAARC development goals relating to education and to strengthen our cooperation in consolidating the gains and addressing remaining challenges.

We note that significant progress has been made since the last meeting of SAARC Education Ministers held in 2009, particularly in terms of universal access to primary education, reducing gender disparities in enrollment in primary and secondary education, completion of primary education cycle and improving quality of primary secondary and higher education.

SAARC Perspectives on the Post-2015 Education Agenda

We recognize that despite substantial progress towards SAARC education development goals, our countries face several challenges relating to universalization of primary education, gender disparities in enrolment and completion rates in primary and secondary education, and illiteracy among youth and adults. Challenges also remain in achieving the goals of Early Childhood Care and Education, skills development, and qualitative improvement of education and attainment by learners of the expected learning outcomes.

We also recognize that the challenges being faced by our countries call for innovative approaches and sustained efforts to foster education development in our countries. In this context, we agree to support the priority areas-quality improvement and improving learning outcomes; inclusive school education including education of children with special needs; skill building and vocational education; higher education and technical education with special focus on mutual capacity building; and use of ICT in education and introduction of Massive Open On-line Courses (MOOCS) – that have been identified for collaborative efforts.

We acknowledge that the Second SAARC Education Ministers’ Meeting provided a timely opportunity for the SAARC Member States to put in place a cooperation mechanism to develop a shared vision and joint actions for the formulation and implementation of the post-2015 SAARC education development goals. We consider that the SAARC Member States are in a position to play an important role in the formulation of the global post-2015 education agenda.

We reaffirm that education is a human right and recognize the central role of education in ensuring inclusive and sustainable development, accelerating social transformation, achieving gender equality, and promoting peace, tolerance and social cohesion. We also recognize the importance of education in human development which is essential for inclusive growth and well-being of all in our countries. We, therefore, commit to work together in a concrete, coordinated and strategic way to facilitate the achievement of the education sector development goals set by each of the SAARC Member States.

Regional Priority Areas of Action

Recognizing the importance of education in National Development, we will continue to accord priority to expansion of education for ensuring equitable and inclusive access to education for all- children, youth and adults- at all levels of education, from early childhood care and education to tertiary education, significantly improving the quality of education imparted, and ensuring that educational opportunities are available to all segments of the society. In this context, we resolve to focus on the following education development priorities:

Scope of cooperation

To pressure the above priority actions, we agree to expand the scope of cooperation which would involve the following activities:

Reporting progress

During the first half of 2015, we will jointly elaborate concrete action plans for our cooperation in the areas defined in paragraph above and hold a technical meeting in June2015 finalize these plans. We Will hold a second technical meeting to assess progress and agree on remaining activities to be concluded before the Third Meeting of SAARC Education Ministers to be held in _________________. We will report back on achievements at the individual country level and on joint activities every year.