Dakar Follow-up Bulletin No 32
Contents (12 September 2001)

For more information on the Second Meeting of the Working Group meeting in Paris: http://www.unesco.org/education/efa/global_co/working_group/index.shtml

Task team established to formulate comprehensive EFA strategy

A small task team to develop a comprehensive EFA strategy was established at the second meeting of the Working Group on Education for All that ended today at UNESCO headquarters in Paris. Some forty leading professionals from a representative range of EFA partners agreed that the team will include representatives from developing countries, UNESCO and other multilateral agencies, donor countries and civil society. The team will produce an outline to be considered at the first meeting of the high-level group, 29-30 October in Paris. A first draft is expected by the end of the year and will be subject of broad consultation.

The comprehensive strategy will encompass action at all levels and include such issues as linkages between practice and research, how to generate dialogue between various partners, the place of education in other policy dialogues, communication, advocacy and lobbying, financing (e.g. the global initiative and user fees) and capacity-building.

"Taking the comprehensive EFA strategy forward will be on the top of our agenda in the coming months," said John Daniel, UNESCO's Assistant Director-General for Education in his closing remarks.

Members of the task team will be identified and announced shortly.

EFA Action plans: more clarity

The Working Group also discussed the national EFA Action Plans. The following points were made:

  • Detailed Action Plan guidelines are now required and advocacy to inform the public and the donor community about the importance of EFA is imperative. Since many donors have already earmarked their annual funding, a pragmatic, country-level approach was suggested to free up some resources before the end of the year.

  • Assessment, evaluation and monitoring must be an integral part of the Plans and the monitoring scope and methodology should be established from the outset. Intermediate targets should also be set to accommodate changes of direction mid-way. The pooling of available data and indicators would make for greater efficiency.

  • Subregional mechanisms should be put in place to review the Plans and propose eventual revisions, thus providing further guarantees to the donor community. Participants agreed that the review should take place before governmental approval to ensure that revisions are taken into account. It was underlined that the review process would be more acceptable to countries if the aspect of interaction were highlighted above that of assessment and that the regions were undoubtedly better placed to decide on the criteria for this review. The question was raised as to who should conduct this assessment?

  • A significant proportion of funding should come from the country itself, but additional funds will be required. Donors should be prevailed upon to raise their funding levels or redirect to EFA a portion of their already committed resources. A question that remained unanswered was whether the release of funds should be linked to the assessment outcomes.
  • It was also agreed that EFA Plans should build on existing plans and be coherent with broader poverty reduction initiatives; that teachers and civil society should be involved in developing the plans; and that efforts to build the capacity of NGOs to play a greater role in this process be stepped up.

    A special fund

    The pros and cons of setting up a global fund or a series of funds for EFA was discussed at some length. Consensus emerged on a fund for specific needs, such as for countries in crisis, which would be constituted out of additional donor funds.

    The Working Group also agreed on launching two new flagship programmes, one on teachers for quality education and on education and disabilities. UNESCO will further explore two other potential flagship initiatives: information and communication technologies and governance.

    The Group finally made a series of recommendations concerning the Monitoring Report and the draft communique for the high-level group.

    Contacts: Anne Muller (a.muller@unesco.org) or Teresa Murtagh (t.murtagh@unesco.org)