|Dakar Follow-up Bulletin No 30|
Attachment in this issue:
Contents (10 September 2001)
UNESCO's Director-General calls for enhanced partnerships in EFA
"The drive for EFA will stand or fail on the galvanization of
effective collaboration among all partners," said UNESCO
Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura yesterday at the opening of the
second meeting of the Working Group on EFA in Paris (10-12 September).
Addressing some forty leading professionals from a representative
range of EFA partners, Mr Matsuura underlined the need for
strengthening the EFA partnership and collaboration. "UNESCO has been
given an important role to play in the EFA movement, and I want it to
perform that role as effectively and successfully as possible. The EFA
challenge, however, is far too wide, deep and diverse for it to be
driven or shaped by one organization or one constituency of opinion,"
UNESCO has two key tasks:
1) facilitating the development of EFA partnerships and
2) ensuring that the activities of all EFA partners
are compatible with one another and consistent with the EFA agenda. To
this end, the Working Group will discuss tomorrow the outline for a
global EFA strategy, which will be, it is expected, an indicative
strategic framework within which partnership and collaboration will
become clearer. Participants will also make recommendations to the
High-level Group on EFA, to meet for the first time from 29-30
October, in Paris.
Mr Matsuura also highlighted the need for collaboration at regional,
subregional and national levels and between all partners, in
particular civil society organizations.
He finally asked the meeting for advice on the following issues:
1) the role of the private or corporate sector in EFA;
2) the appropriate lines of action to harness information and communication technologies;
3) accelerating efforts in early childhood care and education and
4) the creation of new flagship programmes on teacher training,
governance and disability.
The Working Group is an informal advisory body and comprises some
forty representatives of countries, regional organizations, bilateral
and multilateral agencies, civil society organizations, the
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the
European Commission and the G8. The first meeting of the Working Group
took place in November 2000.
Regional mechanisms to support country efforts
The Directors of UNESCO's offices presented the progress made at
regional and subregional levels to promote national EFA action. In
some cases, co-ordination is taking place through existing mechanisms
and in others new bodies are being established. Their key objectives
are capacity-building, resource mobilization and advocacy.
Africa: National EFA co-ordinator appointed in all but one country
Armoogum Parsuramen, Director of UNESCO Dakar, described the great
challenges facing sub-Saharan Africa where, at the projected rates of
growth, about 50 per cent of all countries are unlikely to reach
universal primary education by 2015. The good news is that 45 out of
46 countries have now appointed national EFA co-ordinators and action
plans are expected for all countries by September 2002. Next week
national EFA co-ordinators from forty African countries will gather in
Paris to discuss the preparation of these plans, review the draft
regional action plan, develop regional mechanisms for the EFA
follow-up and promote collaboration with development partners.
Latin America and the Caribbean: Stepping up efforts to mobilize
Most countries in Latin American and Caribbean already have education
plans in place. Some national plans, however, do not take the Dakar
Framework for Action into account. "It's difficult to mobilize
countries around the EFA agenda," said Ana-Luiza Machado, Director of
UNESCO Santiago. "We need to discuss how we can attain country
ownership." UNESCO and other United Nations agencies are now stepping
up their advocacy through a new website and an EFA information kit.
Asia and the Pacific: A variety of subregional mechanisms established
In the vast Asia/Pacific region, comprising forty-four countries,
progress in setting up subregional EFA forums varies from one
subregion to another, reported the new Director of UNESCO Bangkok,
The Subregional Forum for South Asia mandated at a Ministerial meeting
in April 2001 is planned but not yet in place. Most countries have
produced draft action plans, often with inadequate NGO involvement or
participation of EFA partners.
In the Pacific, thirteen countries have completed their national
action plans but here again, all the EFA partners have not been
involved. There is no formal subregional forum in the Pacific.
Existing mechanisms are being used.
The Central Asian Education Forum will be established later this year
by UNESCO and UNICEF in the wake of national EFA roundtables in five
countries. Finally, in southeast Asia most countries are refining
existing basic education plans, often without creating national forums
or involving civil society.
Sheldon Shaeffer informed participants that many governments are now
awaiting donor support to help finance their action plans. The
problem, however, is that mechanisms or criteria for assessing these
plans are not available, he said.
The Arab States: National EFA teams in all States in place by
Victor Billeh, Director of UNESCO Beirut, informed the meeting that by
mid-October all 21 Arab States are expected to have set up national
EFA teams. Ten countries have already identified an EFA focal point
and established some sort of EFA Forum.
Country efforts are also supported by ARABEFA, the Arab regional
inter-agency mechanism on EFA, co-ordinated by his office. ARABEFA is
organizing a series of capacity-building workshops on the process and
content of national plans. It has also organized an Ambassadors' Team
to mobilize funds for EFA activities.
Europe: Subregional forums to be launched
Alexandre Sannikov, UNESCO's regional education adviser for Europe,
reported that three subregions had been identified: South-East Europe,
the Caucasus and the Baltic States.
Where South-East Europe is concerned, UNESCO co-operates with the
Council of Europe, OECD and UN agencies. The Republic of Moldova and
the Republic of Serbia have already received assistance in
establishing national EFA forums. In the Baltic States, Lithuania has
set up an EFA Forum and in January 2002 a Baltic States EFA
subregional meeting will be organized in Riga, Latvia.
The Network of Pedagogical and Languages Universities set up last year
ensures co-operation between the three countries in the Caucasus,
Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. A Subregional EFA Co-ordinator was
appointed at a meeting last May.
The country perspective (Lithuania, Costa Rica, the Philippines and Uganda)
In a session on the national action plans, four country presentations
provided an overview of needs and progress todate:
Lithuania is the first European country to have a national EFA Forum.
Vaiva Vébraité, the Lithuanian Vice-minister of Education and Science
told the meeting that Action Plan priorities were being identified and
that a nationwide discussion among all stakeholders would be
initiated. "If our many partners in education are willing to assist us
both technically and financially, we will achieve our goals," she
Ms Vébriaté added that "the issue of quality in basic education is
most important, particularly in the face of increasing social
disparity, greater poverty for some and inadquate progress in
developing democratic citizenship skills. The vision of providing EFA
"is as enticing as an impressionist painting. Mastery of technique in
delivering the reality is as rare as in art. We assuredly need help,"
The state of education in Costa Rica has remained largely the same
over the last decade. While enrolment has reached 100 per cent,
drop-out remains a serious problem. Only a third of those who enter
primary education and two-thirds of those in the tertiary level
actually finish the cycle. Areas that require urgent attention are
drop-out, secondary education, access to good quality education in
poor areas and education for immigrants. Some 20 per cent of young
people between 15 and 17 neither study nor work, said Maria Eugenia
Paniagua, Director-General of Costa Rica's Sistema Educativo Saint
Ms Paniagua reminded the meeting that since the 1997 law, Costa Rica
allocates 6 per cent of GDP to education.
The Philippines is moving quickly on the EFA agenda and civil society
organizations are on board, said Mr Ramon Bacani, Undersecretary of
the Department of Education, Culture and Sport, adding that national
and sub-national EFA councils have been set up.
The Education Department intends to "engage a pool of basic education
specialists in a dialogue on the priorities to be included in the EFA
Plan," he added. EFA is also part and parcel of the country's
Medium-Term Development Plan, which also links up with the national
anti-poverty strategy and agriculture and agrarian sectors.
"Educational planning can be strengthened if it takes into account
other development sectors," he said.
Uganda's performance in universal primary education is remarkable.
Albert Byamugisha of the Ugandan Ministry of Education and Sports
reminded the meeting that enrolment in his country shot up from 2.3
million in 1996 to 6.8 million in 2000. He then outlined the
institutional arrangements put in place to meet the Dakar goals: four
groups have been formed to address each of the six Dakar goals, to
oversee progress in the six areas, monitor progress, and bring the
development partners and civil society on board.
The government, he said, is also developing strategies to enhance
girls' education and fight HIV/AIDS. "Uganda is on track to meet the
2005 goal of gender equality," said Mr Byamugisha, adding that his
country had not yet done much in areas such as early childhood
education and lifeskills.
Thematic initiatives as gateways to EFA
"Obstacles to EFA need targeted and co-ordinated action," said
Mary-Joy Pigozzi, acting education chief of UNICEF, highlighting how
inter-agency thematic initiatives fit into national EFA plans of
Speaking particularly on the United Nations Girls' Education
Initiative (UNGEI), she said that EFA goals would only be reached if
girls' education and other key areas including school health, HIV/AIDS
and education in crisis were addressed in the national plans.
"The 2002 deadline for country action plans and the 2005 goal for
elimination of gender disparities are inextricably linked," Pigozzi
said, adding that "plans must address the gender issue not just
mention it!" Affirmative actions, resource mobilization, political
commitment and social mobilization on a massive scale are imperative
not only for girls' education but for all other thematic initiatives.
Pigozzi also mentioned the importance of networking to create
coherence with and across institutions and suggested that the flagship
initiatives be brought to the attention of the High-level Group on
EFA. "They need to understand the urgency of the 2005 goal."
Bill Ratteree of the International Labour Organization outlined a new
inter-agency flagship programme on teachers for quality education.
Stressing the critical role of teachers in achieving quality EFA, he
outlined the challenges of improving the status and conditions of
teachers in order to attract the best school graduates in large
numbers. Ratteree pointed to the need for professional teacher
education, backed by lifelong development, competitive salaries, and
an equitable system of teacher placement and mobility.
Another set of challenges concerns the involvement of teacher
organizations in educational decision-making, in particular in
developing EFA plans of action. "Teachers need to have a sense of
ownership of the EFA process since they are at the heart of it," Bill
Assessing and funding of EFA national plans
On the subject of the assessment and funding of EFA plans, Donald
MacKenzie of USAID said that "national EFA plans must declare war on
HIV/AIDS." "The response must be proportional to the magniture of the
challenge," he added before going on to present statistics on the
impact of HIV/AIDS on education. Concerning assessment of EFA plans,
he argued that they must be owned, implemented and monitored by
countries themselves. "Donor role is supporting, not policing," he
said. "Do current EFA estimates include the cost of replacing
personnel, rebuilding institutions and dealing with trauma?" he asked
the meeting. To meet the EFA goals, he suggested collaboration through
"empowered EFA task groups" in such areas as fundraising, teaching
methodologies, information technology and creating new partnerships.
Claudia Von Monbart of the World Bank pointed out that for most
countries, school enrolment growth of 5 per cent per year over 15
years would suffice to meet the EFA goals. However, several nations
will need growth of up to 10 per cent per year. "The challenge," she
said, "will be to improve quality at the same time." By 2002, the
World Bank will come up with a "firm position" on the overall EFA
She saw the following next steps as vital in accelerating EFA:
Significant policy changes without which EFA will not be possible;
Defining EFA financing needs on a country-by-country basis;
Informing countries of what works and what does not work;
Working with the UNESCO Institute for Statistics to obtain "near-real time data" for the majority of EFA countries;
Using primary school completion rates rather than gross enrolment;
Using education as a major force to fight the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
The discussion that followed focused on the criteria for credible
action plans that would attract funding support. Some suggestions were
provided: country ownership of the plans, genuine involvement of civil
society and strategies to combat HIV/AIDS.
Contacts: Anne Muller (email@example.com) or Teresa Murtagh