|Dakar Follow-up Bulletin Board No 10|
Contents (22 November 2000)
in this issue:
UNESCO's Director-General stresses 'leadership through partnership'
In his inaugural speech, Mr Matsuura stressed that the
leadership role given to UNESCO at the World Education
Forum (Dakar, Senegal, April 2000) is "a vote of confidence
as well as an immense challenge. "We interpret the mandate
as 'leadership through partnership'," he said, adding
that the role of UNESCO is to create synergy within
the array of different opinions and perspectives among
all partners involved in the follow-up process while
respecting that countries through their governments,
national NGOs and civil society are the principal authority
of the movement.
The objectives of the meeting are to report on the progress
made at national, regional and international levels,
following the Dakar Forum, and to discuss selected topics
of particular interest for follow-up, in particular
the development of national plans of action, mobilization
of resources and monitoring of the EFA progress at all
Some forty individuals representing countries, regional
bodies, national and international non-governmental
organizations, as well as donor agencies are taking
part in the three-day meeting that ends on Friday.
The Assistant Director-General for Education a.i., Mr
Jacques Hallak, who is chairing the meeting, underlined
the importance of bringing together technical experts
to think and consult together and to share experiences,
while underlining that the Working Group is not a decision-making
body. "We are here to work, not to talk about principles.
The information sharing that will take place during
the next three days is decisive for the future of the
EFA movement," he said.
The outcomes and recommendations from the meeting will
further the Education for All process in the organizations
represented and help shape the agenda of the informal
High-Level Group to be convened by UNESCO's Director
General in April 2001.
Please find the welcome address by UNESCO's Director-General
attached to this Bulletin Board.
and countries take up the challenge of Education for
Regional and national presentations demonstrated the
rich variety of activities being undertaken in the wake
of the World Education Forum.
In India, for instance, an ambitious new action plan
aims to provide relevant basic education for all 6-
to 14-year-olds by 2010, generalize five years primary
schooling by 2007, eight years schooling by 2010 and
address the gender gap and retention.
Senegal’s ten-year plan for Education for All involves
wide decentralization, accountability, partnership and
regular monitoring. UNESCO and UNICEF are joining forces
for West and Central Africa and have drawn up a Memorandum
of Understanding in this sense.
Kenya is reviewing its education system, focussing on
such vital aspects as globalization, information technologies
and what might constitute the most appropriate partnerships.
An EFA Task Force, headed by the Education Minister
comprises all levels of society including parents and
The Arab region, which has made significant advances
in primary school enrolment, has already elaborated
a fully-fledged EFA regional action plan under the umbrella
mechanism, ARABEFA. Apart from providing direct support
to countries to develop their national plans, three
region-wide thematic groupings will address early childhood
education, girls' education and literacy. Dr Ali Fakhro
of Bahrain called for agencies and bilateral donors
to show greater commitment to EFA.
Presentations from Latin America and the Caribbean also
showed the commitment to the goals of EFA: parliaments
in the Caribbean will endorse the regional EFA plan
of action. The Organization of Ibero-American States
for Education, Science and Culture (OEI) is focussing
on universalizing basic education and eliminating the
gender gap in line with the Dakar Framework for Action.
Brazil conducted a vast educational reform defining
the responsibilities of federal, state and municipal
Although less than 1 per cent of Georgia’s population
is illiterate, problems of quality persist at all levels.
Georgia’s Deputy Minister of Education, Mr Tamaz Tatishvili,
explained that "the drastic transition from a centrally-planned
to a market economy has brought about poverty and social
inequality." The large number of displaced persons (some
300,000) is also a great concern and the country is
tackling the most urgent problems first, providing pupils
with psychological rehabilitation, with the help of
UNICEF. Capacity for early childhood education will
be increased by 20 per cent.
The remarkable work of non-governmental organizations
(NGOs) in the EFA drive was evident from the various
presentations. These NGOs expressed their desire to
be associated with the preparation of national action
plans from the beginning.
The Bangladesh-based NGO, the Dhaka Ahsania Mission,
that has a long experience of non-formal education,
is today part of the national EFA follow-up committee.
The NGO, ROSHNI, which will operate shortly in Bangladesh,
Bhutan, India, Nepal and Pakistan, will address out-of-school
youth and those whose education is insufficient.
The Brazilian Association of NGOs reported on its initiative
that resulted in "The Latin American Statement on Education
for All". It has now received 2000 signatures from educators
For Jennnifer Chiwela of the People’s Action Forum in
Zambia, the promises and commitment made at Dakar have
not yet been translated into action. "We are advancing
at snail’s pace," she said. She also cautioned against
the practice of funding only school-based education,
thus neglecting youth and adults.
programmes unite efforts in EFA
A series of presentations of flagship programmes during
the first day of the Working Group meeting demonstrated
a unique collaboration between partners in achieving
Education for All. Most presenters highlighted the fact
that they were speaking on behalf of a large group of
stakeholders working together on EFA issues.
following flagship programmes were presented:
United Nations Girls' Education Initiative
- Early Childhood Care and Education
Resources on Effective School Health (FRESH)
in Situations of Emergency and Crisis
and Quality Education
years to end the gender gap in education
The goal of the United Nations Girls' Education Initiative
is to mount a ten-year sustained campaign to improve
the quality and availability of girls' education according
to the goals set out in the Dakar Framework for Action
and through existing mechanisms. "We are not asking
for new plans. Our aim is to have existing EFA plans
address gender issues thoroughly," according to Mary
Joy Pigozzi of UNICEF
The initiative was announced by the United Nations Secretary-General
Kofi Annan at the World Education Forum in Dakar.
The five strategic objectives of the UNGEI are to build
political and resource commitment, to end the gender
gap and discrimination within education systems, to
help girls' education in crisis, and to eliminate ingrained
gender bias that limits the demand for girls' education.
Last month Egypt was the first country to officially
launch a national UNGEI initiative. In the next twelve
months, the Egyptian Minister of Education will put
in place a strategy to achieve gender parity by 2005
and gender equality by 2015, in close co-operation with
local representatives of the UNGEI Task Force comprising
UNESCO, UNDP, UNICEF, UNIFEM, UNFPA, WFP, ILO and the
According to Ms Pigozzi, the process being undertaken
in Egypt can serve as guidance to other countries wishing
to participate in the UNGEI.
for development of new indicators on early childhood
care and development
One of the main challenges of the flagship programme
on Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) is to
establish better systems to monitor and evaluate programmes
across different settings. Kathy Bartlett, who presented
the flagship programme on behalf of Consultative Group
on ECCD, a consortium that has existed for more than
fifteen year, underlined the need for reviewing, developing
and field-testing appropriate indicators for ECCD.
"It is essential to collect experiences to understand
what is happening on the ground," Ms Bartlett said,
adding that more information and documentation are needed
on the impact of early literacy programmes and the workings
and quality of partnerships in ECCD.
the impact of HIV/AIDS on education
UNICEF, UNESCO and USAID presented this inter-agency
initiative which aims to mitigate the impact of AIDS
on education and to enhance prevention programmes.
Françoise Caillods of UNESCO’s International Institute
for Educational Planning spoke of the impact of HIV/AIDS
on education in Southern Africa and warned that if this
issue was not tackled immediately, these education systems
would collapse. Emilie Vargas-Baron of USAID evoked
the link between AIDS and crisis and the necessity in
particular to address vulnerable groups, people in war-torn
countries, refugees or internally displaced persons
This inter-agency initiative focuses on promoting child-friendly
and health promoting schools, life skills-based education,
training and supporting teachers and expanding the links
between schools and community-based programmes. Other
activities include studies to measure the impact of
AIDS on education systems, encourage countries to prepare
their own strategies, define measures focused on teachers,
and information-sharing to disseminate findings and
best practices. There was general agreement that, if
efforts were to have some success, action should cut
across all sectors: education, health and social services.
Resources on Effective school Health (FRESH)
How can children learn when they are hungry and in poor
health? The FRESH flagship programme that was launched
at the Dakar Forum by UNESCO, UNICEF, the World Health
Organization (WHO) and the World Bank is an attempt
to focus resources on the school-age child through an
effective school health, hygiene and nutrition programme.
The FRESH framework proposes four basic core components
of a school health programme: health-related school
policies, provision of safe water and sanitation, skills-based
health education and school-based health and nutrition
"The framework is intended as a basis from which
individual countries can develop their own strategy
to match local needs," said Anna-Maria Hoffmann-Barthès
of UNESCO, who presented the programme
Several new joint and collaborative efforts are underway
to promote the FRESH framework. At the international
level, links between health and education will be reinforced
through information sharing of best practices and concerted
action. At regional level, several collaborative mechanisms
that will allow countries to prepare and implement their
national plans of action have been established and technical
meetings are being organized. At the national level,
concrete support is being proposed to countries, such
as guidelines on how to create health promoting schools
and technical assistance.
inter-agency effort to promote education in conflicts
The prevalence of conflicts in more than fifty countries
has prompted UN agencies to address the right to education
in time of war, in the knowledge that any interruption
in educational delivery is a direct threat to this right.
This initiative endeavours to restore access to learning
as rapidly as possible and insists that education must
be funded with the same urgency as life-saving emergency
assistance. A recent inter-agency consultation launched
a flagship programme on this topic (Geneva, 8-10 November
2000) and defined some practical strategies and mechanisms.
One of them is the "Network on Education in Emergencies",
(to include UNESCO, UNHCR and UNICEF, a donor agency
and an NGO), designed to reinforce co-operation between
all actors in humanitarian assistance. Task teams will
address information-sharing and networking, learning
materials, and how to tackle formal and non-formal post-primary
education in emergency situations
the quality of education through teachers
The increased focus on educational quality has the potential
to bring teachers back into the heart of the education
debate. Monique Fouilhoux of Education International
stressed,in her presentation on Teachers and Quality
of Education, that every discussion on quality has to
relate to teachers. "If governments like to have quality
they must also be prepared to regard the amount of resources
invested in education as part of the measures needed,"
Ms Fouilhoux said.
Sheldon Shaeffer of UNICEF highlighted the need for
a broader view of quality, focusing on the learning
processes, the school environment and the role and responsibilities
of teachers in, for example, eliminating gender bias
Contact: Anne Muller (email@example.com)