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High-Level Group on Education for All: Report, 2001

 

For further information,please contact:
Abhimanyu Singh
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Education Sector
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The draft of this report was shared with all participants in the first meeting
of the High-Level Group on Education for All.
Director of publication: Abhimanyu Singh
Text prepared by : Clinton Robinson
Editorial co-ordination : Ulrika Peppler Barry
Editorial team: Karine Brun,Leslie Limage, Margarethe Sachs-Israël, Florence Migeon, Janne Kjaersgaard
Editing: Wenda McNevin
Graphic design : Sylvaine Baeyens Printing Graphoprint
©UNESCO 2002
ED-2002/WS/7
Printed in France

 

F o r e w o rd



I am pleased to present this report of the first meeting of the EFA High Level Group. The meeting was a particularly important event. The governments,agencies and civil society organisations assembled in Dakar in April 2000 at the World Education Forum were conscious of the pressing need to maintain the momentum we had developed. To this end,the Forum gave me the responsibility of calling together a High Level Group which would be small,flexible and representative - a group which would generate strong political will to carry forward the urgent agenda of the Dakar Framework for Action.

I am therefore especially satisfied that the first meeting brought together representatives of all the EFA constituencies - developing and industrialised countries,civil society groupings,bilateral and multilateral gencies.The strong commitment to EFA was demonstrated by the high calibre of the participants and quality of their contributions.The meeting had three major themes:political commitment,resource mobilisation and civil society and partnerships.How far did the meeting facilitate progress in these areas?

With regard to political commitment I observed a healthy impatience to move beyond words to action - to see national EFA plans prepared and financed,,to budget new resources,to develop high quality monitoring instruments to keep track of progress. Bilateral and multilateral aid agencies were ready to mobilise new resources, requesting that specific gaps and precise needs should be identified.Civil society engagement in the meeting marked a new phase of upstream partnership based on mutual respect and a common concern to work concretely towards the Dakar goals.

The meeting also identified some gaps:the need for a high quality monitoring report to facilitate the work of the group;the urgency of articulating a comprehensive EFA strategy;clarification of the role and structure of the group itself.In collaboration with its EFA partners,UNESCO will seriously address these issues in the coming months.

I was grateful for the confidence which participants expressed in UNESCO in its coordinating role,while recognising the high expectations in this regard.For my part, I will continue to keep EFA at the centre of UNESCO's agenda and programmes,and look forward to increasingly active and productive partnerships with all the constituencies represented at the High Level Group.Only through our common will and joint effort will we succeed in tackling the huge challenge of Education for All.

Koïchiro Matsuura
Director-General,UNESCO

I n t r o d u c t i on

The Dakar Framework for Action stipulated that the Director-General of UNESCO would convene a high-level group annually,as part of UNESCO 's 'mandated role in coordinating EFA partners and maintaining their collaborative momentum '.This first meeting of the group followed two meetings of the EFA Working Group (November 2000 and September 2001).The aim of the meeting was to 'serve as a lever for political commitment and technical and financial resource mobilization ',as well as being 'an opportunity to hold the global community to account for commitments made in Dakar '.In line with this latter goal,the Director- General prepared the first Monitoring Report on Education For All 2001 as input to the meeting.

In accordance with the Dakar commitment that it should be composed of 'highest level leaders from governments and civil society of developing and developed countries, and from development agencies ',the Director-General of UNESCO invited the Ministers of Education from eighteen countries representative of all regions of the world,the leaders of four international non-governmental organizations (NGOs)and the heads of five multilateral or bilateral agencies.As the participants list shows (see Appendix 3),most responded in their personal capacity,while others were represented by close associates.In addition,the Director-General invited a number of observers.

The meeting was chaired by the Director-General of UNESCO,Mr Koïchiro Matsuura.UNESCO Division Directors,Directors of UNESCO Institutes,UNESCO Regional Directors and other staff also attended.The Chair gave the floor to observers during the meeting, at his discretion.

The two-day programme was divided into five sessions:


_ Achieving the EFA goals at the national level
_ Building political commitment and partnerships
_ Mobilizing resources in support of EFA:the role of international agencies and the function of debt relief schemes
_ Civil society participation
_ Monitoring EFA progress

In all,eleven prepared presentations were given as input to the group 's deliberations.Lively discussion sessions gave opportunity for free expression of a wide range of points of view and experiences.


Setting the context - Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO

In welcoming participants to this first meeting of the High-Level Group on EFA,Mr Koïchiro Matsuura underlined the central importance of education in a world living in the shadow of the 11 September events - 'learning to live together ',as the Delors report put it,has acquired particular urgency.He recalled the mandate given in Dakar at the World Education Forum in 2000:to convene 'a high-level,small and flexible group ' in order to maintain and increase political commitment for EFA and mobilize the necessary financial and technical resources.In terms of representation of the EFA constituency,he noted that about half the participants are drawn from developing countries.

As context for the meeting,Mr Matsuura identified four specific challenges faced by EFA partners,requiring a speedy response,innovation and initiative:

_ Building effective and imaginative strategies for educating the poor,the excluded and the marginalized.
_ Eliminating gender disparities and achieving gender equality - the 2005 deadline looms large..
_ Recognizing the special conditions of countries facing emergencies,crisis or post-conflict situations.
_ Recognizing the potential of the HIV/AIDS pandemic to undo progress in EFA,particularly in Africa.

The Director-General identified three major themes for the meeting:political commitment,resource mobilization,and civil society and artnerships.Political commitment at the national level is crucial:how can governments actively engage their partners,both national and international?How can the participation of all actors in preparing national EFA plans be ensured? Some national plans are ready and awaiting financial commitments,so there is a need to put in place sensitive review mechanisms.Incorporation of the aims of the international flagship programmes at national level needs attention. Resource mobilization revolves around the Global Initiative,which is premised on synergy between national and international resources.Mr Matsuura emphasized partnerships with civil society, noting that 'the size and complexity of the EFA challenge are too great for governments alone to address '. In this respect civil society must be part of the policy debate,founded on mutual trust between government and civil society.

The Director-General concluded with a number of suggestions, highlighting the start made in monitoring EFA through the first Monitoring Report ;this is a forerunner of a more comprehensive report which will be presented to the High-Level Group each year.He expressed cautious optimism about the 2015 EFA targets,while recognizing the difficulties and expressing the concern that security issues should not edge out social priorities.The full text of the address is found in Appendix 1.

We must find ways to educate the poor despite their poverty,amidst their poverty,out of their poverty.
Koïchiro Matsuura



Structure of the current report
This report follows the sequence of the programme (see Appendix 4),in sections representing the five sessions.It summarizes each of the eleven papers presented by countries and organizations.Discussion periods were part of each session and this report renders the essence of the remarks made and points debated. In order to capture the tone and ethos of the meeting, an observer 's viewpoint is presented,before concluding with an overview of the process of adopting the final communiqué.



Achieving EFA goals at national level

EFA planning goes ahead in Pakistan despite difficulties

Ms Zobaida Jalal,Minister of Education,began by alluding to the current international context in which Pakistan finds itself and noting that ignorance,poverty and illiteracy breed extremism - education is a crucial tool to fight terrorism.Pakistan 's response to Dakar and the EFA challenge was first to identify educational gaps, a major achievement in itself.The development of educational strategy has been fully embedded in the Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSP)process,with decentralized planning being a particular focus,all the way down to district level.Pakistan has demonstrated political commitment to EFA by holding a national conference,and national and provincial forums,and by drafting both provincial and national EFA plans.These focus on primary education,adult literacy and early childhood education.Planned targets are as follows:

_ primary education:from the existing 66%enrolment to 100%in 2015,with gender parity;girls ' education is a special priority;
_ adult literacy:from the existing literacy rate of 49% to 86%in 2015,adding 81 million to the literate population;and
_ early childhood education:from the existing 25% participation rate in early childhood education centres to 50%in 2015.

Planning includes a focus on disadvantaged groups, quality improvement,curriculum reform,building stronger civil society alliances,enabling district-level planning and management,and the use of ICTs.These plans are costed at around US$7bn above current budgets,of which national resources will cover only 40%- Pakistan seeks to mobilize the rest through the international commitments made at Dakar.Public-private partnerships must be explored,but must not become an excuse for less public responsibility; user charges will further exclude the poor.Pakistan appreciates recent efforts to relieve its debt, but regrets that it has taken a war situation to implement this.

Ms Jalal laid particular stress on regional cooperation in South Asia,noting the large numbers of non-literates and out-of-school children in the egion.Pakistan is committed to regional collaboration and has shared its EFA National Plan of Action with other countries.The Afghan crisis is increasing pressure on Pakistan 's resources,with an urgent need to address the situation of homeless women and children.While appreciating international efforts to provide new resources for EFA, Ms Jalal called for greater support for a holistic approach to education,emphasizing the values of peace and diversity. She concluded by challenging the High-Level Group to make a difference in education,to 'stand up and act together '.

we cannot and should not remain oblivious of the fact that ignorance,poverty and illiteracy breed extremism.It is more critical than ever that UNESCO and all Member States re-double their efforts to promote education for all in every region and in every continent in the fight against international terrorism.
Zobaida Jalal


Progress through partnership and consultation in Senegal


The Minister of Education, Mr Moustapha Sourang, began by presenting the regrets of the President of Senegal who was unfortunately prevented from responding in person to UNESCO 's invitation. Mr Sourang recalled the President 's words at the World Education Forum in Dakar,characterizing the education problem in Africa as 'falling between two extremes:having no job and no education,or having an education and no job '.Senegal is determined to address this situation through EFA.Stressing the responsibility of the state for education,the Minister noted that in sub-Saharan Africa states do not have the funds to face this challenge - a challenge that is increasing with population growth.Thus the state must experiment with new partnerships and mobilize external resources.The growing willingness of aid partners to fund social areas and to take a holistic view of development gives grounds for optimism.

Senegal has taken a systematic approach to the development of an EFA national plan.Taking into account a ten-year education and training plan initiated in 1996,the EFA national plan was launched on the anniversary of the Dakar Forum. Its elaboration involved a five-stage process,with broad consultation and
technical input,and it includes planning at departmental and regional levels.Around sixty NGOs are active,mostly in non-formal education. A ’partnership charter ’ has been developed to provide a framework for cooperation between all the actors.Building greater consensus with civil society will be a particular priority. Mr Sourang introduced the question of the relationship between basic and higher education,with two concerns:firstly, an emphasis on basic education runs the risk of reducing resources for higher education and,secondly,the donor community is divided in its approach to higher education funding.He called on UNESCO to play the honest broker in this situation.In addition,more flexible financing conditions are required for the funding of education.

Together,we the men and women of good will in the North and the South … say that we want education and work, not one without the other.
Abdoulaye Wade, President of Senegal, at the Dakar Forum 2000


Discussion and reactions

In discussion lessons were drawn from the events of 11 September ,including the observation that extremism is bred by illiteracy and poverty.This underlines the importance of education in promoting tolerance and as a guardian of peace.It was hoped that once again the worst of times might bring out the best in the human spirit.Comments and remarks were made on a wide range of EFA-related issues,with frequent references to progress and constraints in particular national contexts.

Broadening the debate,the question was posed:what kind of education for what kind of development? In response it was noted that levels of literacy do not necessarily coincide with levels of national scientific progress.Further general comments on educational approaches included the following:

- There must be a right to employment,as well as a right to education.
- Education must not be seen a service,but as an institution that transmits values.
- Education must promote social equity.
- Marginalization from education is a cultural as well as an economic phenomenon.

A number of issues central to ensuring EFA were raised,based on lessons from a variety of national situations:

- Access to education:the Philippines identified and abolished hidden user costs,such as Boy Scout dues and exam fees,with the result that enrolment increased by 7%.As part of their national plan for EFA, India is giving special priority to groups who have been hard to reach,such as girls and slum children.Kenya ’s affirmative action for disadvantaged groups includes the re-admission into school of those who dropped out due to pregnancy.

- Quality of education:as an example of how to improve quality,the Philippines said that they now concentrate on five key subject areas in basic education:Pilipino, English,science,maths and good citizenship.Teacher training and curriculum reform are essential elements of quality improvement.

- Gender:concern was expressed about the image of women often portrayed in textbooks.

- Adult learning/non-formal education (NFE):this should be strengthened as an alternative learning opportunity,with attention to developing a policy for post-literacy activities in order to avoid relapse and loss of newly acquired skills.Cuba noted progress in adult learning by using radio for literacy,including sharing their experience in the Caribbean region. In the same region,seven countries are cooperating in adopting common measures of literacy.UNESCO ’s Director-General emphasized the need to reach out to adults and to promote lifelong learning.

- EFA plans:as these are developed they should indicate precise financial needs,as well as other kinds of gaps.

There was concern to identify the role and purpose of the High-Level Group,which was a significant opportunity to carry forward the EFA agenda — this discussion was planned for the final session.

Some remarks concerned the role of NGOs and civil society .On their part,they expressed a willingness to work with governments.One participant asked if they really are equal partners and to whom they are accountable.As an example of civil society engagement in EFA,it was noted that in Senegal NGOs have contributed to a 5%increase in the literacy rate,but that national assessment of literacy does not take civil society and community-based organization (CBO) activities adequately into account.

Several comments related to the role of UNESCO :it is the only international forum for educational discussion and it needs to give intellectual input and provide a lead in the educational debate.





Building politival sommitment and partnerships


Effective consultation and effective management:keys to EFA for Canada

Ms Maria Minna,Minister for International Co-operation, started by re-affirming the central importance of education - for human rights,health and nutrition, HIV/AIDS prevention,active citizenship,equality,justice, dignity and tolerance.Basic education is the foundation of a lifelong learning process essential for each person in today 's world. Evidence shows that investment in social development is crucial to eradicating poverty.

Canada is entirely committed to ensuring that the Dakar goals are pursued and realized.Taking the Monitoring Report as input,the Minister focused on three inter-connected principles:national ownership,partnership and the role of civil society.All are based on consultation with stakeholders and communities.Canada undertook such a consultation in designing their own 'donor 's action plan ' to support EFA..The outcome will be a quadrupling of Canada 's investments in basic education. Using existing resources more effectively and relieving the burden of debt are further strategies for increasing support.Canada and its G-8 counterparts have strong commitments for the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC)initiative.Canada has proclaimed a unilateral moratorium on debt payments for well-performing HIPC countries.

In addition to financial resources,human,technical and logistical resources must be mobilized,for example using UNESCO 's network of educators and sharing best practice.

Ms Minna drew attention to four management issues:

_ Greater donor coordination:this will be a key concern for the G-8 Task Force on Education,in which Canada will play an active role.

_ Flagship programmes:we need to ensure these do not deflect effort or resources from national EFA processes.

_ UNESCO 's coordination role:UNESCO has strengthened its role,but is the mandate clear enough?Are the right tools available to carry EFA forward?

_ Monitoring EFA:all partners must work to put in place common indicators that allow for regional variation; the Millennium development targets are a good starting point.

She concluded by issuing a challenge to make full use of the 'vast human resources at our disposal ' in pursuit of EFA objectives.


UNICEF 's priority:fulfilling our obligation to children

'A quality primary education is the right of all children, and the obligation of all governments ' - Ms Carol Bellamy,Executive Director of UNICEF,saw this as the basis of a common understanding of EFA,founded on international declarations and conventions.She developed this principle by calling for attention to the basics:'children who are mentally and physically able to learn,and teachers who are ready and able to teach,in educational environments that are available,affordable and welcoming to children and their parents.' Stressing the value of the strong partnerships among the United Nations agencies and with civil society,she underlined the value of the United Nations Girls ' Education Initiative (UNGEI),whose immediate objective is to close the gender gap by 2005.

Charged to represent UNDP at the High-Level Group, Ms Bellamy reported that UNDP 's Administrator sees education as critical to development and that he has asked resident coordinators around the world to give particular attention to supporting UNGEI and other EFA initiatives. Ms Bellamy rehearsed the benefits of educating girls - a key element in economic development;educated girls become educated women who are more likely to educate their own children,and have smaller and healthier families.Listing new initiatives in a number of African and Asian countries,she called for mechanisms to reach the most excluded and disadvantaged children, developing targeted approaches for those most at risk. Efforts must address child labour,the impact of HIV/AIDS and preventable diseases so that these children can have an education.Second-chance education of good quality must also receive attention. She concluded on an optimistic note,observing that this is the most opportune time imaginable to move forward with these challenges:hope rather than despair must motivate organizations and citizens to fulfil our obligations to children.

I am struck by how these three principles - national ownership,partnership and the role of civil society - interact with each other.When they 're in synch,they reinforce each other.But if one element is not harnessed to its full potential, the others suffer and our goals are put further out of reach.
Maria Minna

 

Discussion and reactions

In response to these presentations,UNESCO 's Director- General gave a framework to the debate by asking the
group to consider four questions:

_ How to build on the momentum for EFA
_ How to show political commitment and put it into practice
_ How to mobilize resources
_ How to make flagship programmes compatible with national plans

These questions were addressed in part during this discussion session and were taken up again subsequently. Once again the discussion ranged widely - the over-- arching theme was that of partnerships and how crucial they are if there is to be any progress in EFA.Participants also repeatedly stressed that the time has come for action,moving beyond conceptual development and strategy formulation to practical implementation - this should be one of the major outcomes of the High-Level Group meeting.

National ownership:there was complete agreement that countries must be in the driving seat with regard to EFA planning and implementation.This will be the basis of partnership at the international level:national commitment will generate international commitment. National ownership is expressed in central and eastern Europe by new legislative frameworks to promote education for all:the training,status and remuneration of teachers is a crucial part of this,as is the development of the use of ICTs for educational purposes.As national EFA plans are now translated into action,operational guidelines need to be developed.

Nature of relationships:a key question is how best to structure coordination between the country level and international forums,the link between the global and the local - civil society has an important role to play here.What kind of interaction should there be between the global EFA movement and national strategies for poverty reduction?Global approaches must always be linked to concrete realities.Partnerships also need to be developed close to the grassroots,within communities and among institutions represented at that level.At national level,since education cuts across sectors, partnerships must include many ministries,thus building on existing structures.In the international arena,how are the relationships between multilateral and bilateral
agencies to be defined?At the other end of the spectrum,the engagement of the poorest families and communities must not be neglected - they often know what is needed to break the cycle of poverty.In all these partnerships,there is a need for tools to exchange information about objectives, interventions, programmes and good practice - this will require adequate coordination and permanent dialogue between international partners and countries.

Alternative approaches
:participants expressed a concern that non-formal alternatives to schooling should be made available to out-of-school youth,in cooperation with civil society,and that these initiatives should develop links to the formal system.

Quality:the quality of basic education was stressed repeatedly and requires as much attention as the quantitative goals of increasing access to education.

External aid :according to the World Bank representative, a total of US$300bn is spent by developing countries on education,while international aid to education is only US$4bn - a little over 1%%.Can the international community double this aid?While little has happened practically on this front since Dakar,there are grounds for optimism because of initiatives of groupings such as the G-8 and the Global Campaign for Education. There is a need to define the mechanisms for financial support from donors,with the emphasis on mechanisms that work.

Flagship programmes:there was a warm welcome for the adoption of the new programme on disability,which UNESCO is committed to promoting among its Member States.

Only quality education can equip girls with the confidence to make the most of their abilities … and can put young women on a path to economic and social empowerment.
Carol Bellamy


Mobilizing resources in support of EFA


Commitment:the basis for action - United Kingdom

Acknowledging the size of the challenge of universal primary education,Ms Clare Short, Secretary of State for International Development,noted significant progress in some countries - citing nine countries of sub-Saharan Africa where enrolment rates have reached 90%.

The Dakar commitment to ensure that 'no country seriously committed to EFA will be thwarted in their achievement of that goal by lack of resources ' raises two questions:

_ When is it clear that a government is seriously committed to EFA?
_ How will the international community fulfil its pledge?

Strong political will,national resolve and clear educational policies,within a PRSP framework,will be indicators of commitment.Ms Short suggested three further indicators:

_ rapid abolition of user fees and other direct costs
_ allocation by governments of significant resources to basic education
_ concrete efforts to promote gender equality

It is important that EFA plans should form an integral part of plans to reduce poverty.Once such plans are in place,UNESCO must use its leverage with the international community to ensure that adequate funding is forthcoming.In addition,donor coordination is particularly critical in the education sector in order to reduce transaction and administrative costs for developing countries.

Ms Short addressed the role and structure of the High- Level Group,pleading for a smaller,but representative group meeting annually to receive the Monitoring Report .This report will be an invaluable tool to identify specific needs,rally further effort and make connections with other forums,such as the G-8 summits and the annual meetings of the Bretton Woods organizations. The United Kingdom committed itself to providing funding for such a report.Ms Short concluded with a ringing and optimistic affirmation:'We are the first generation who have in our hands the possibility of abolishing illiteracy from the human condition.Let us ensure that we rise to the challenge.'

No single development intervention has more impact on the prospects of a country than the education of its children,particularly of girls.
Clare Short



Japan:investing in capacity

Mr Takao Kawakami,President of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA),cited his own experience in Indonesia and Pakistan to emphasize the strong demand for education at the grassroots - in Pakistan,for instance,women were determined to attend literacy classes in spite of their heavy workloads. JICA sees education as the foundation for development and is committed to a capacity-building approach;this has two prongs:

_ support for local personnel,to ensure local ownership and ongoing sustainability.
_ sharing Japanese experience as input and stimulus for local goal-setting.

Sector-wide approaches will facilitate common understandings among donors as a flexible framework for maximizing each agency 's comparative advantage. As far as Japan 's contribution to education is concerned, Mr Kawakami recalled his country 's commitment to a five-year social development funding package in Africa and noted that provision of school infrastructure has enabled school enrolments to increase.HIV/AIDS prevention and bridging the digital divide will be central elements of current Japanese aid.A review of education programmes has led JICA to put greater emphasis on non-formal education and cooperation at community level with NGOs in HIV/AIDS prevention. Japan will work closely with the G-8 Task Force on Education in mobilizing international efforts for basic education.

It important to bear in mind that donors ' assistance is utilized within a flexible framework in the way that each donor 's different comparative advantages are respected.… Another important issue: development cooperation should be implemented through developing countries ' ownership,not by donors. Takao Kawakami

 

France:cooperating to promote access,equity and quality in education

The Ministre-Délégué pour la cooperation et la francophonie,Mr Charles Josselin,recognized the Dakar Forum as an important step forward in strengthening international commitment to education,one which must now be implemented.The overall aims are access,equity and quality in education, around which all stakeholders must structure their dialogue.Recalling that the national level is paramount,Mr Josselin introduced two principles:
ownership and participation. Ownership implies policy definition by governments themselves,while participation engages all stakeholders in this process.

He cautioned against investing extra resources in education systems that are less and less effective and called rather for national action plans based on sound analysis and elaborated within a sector-wide approach.The larger framework consists of poverty reduction strategies,in which debt relief,such as France has recently committed itself to,has a key role to play. Support for UNESCO 's role in Africa,collaboration in the G-8 Task Force on Education, possible investment in HIV/AIDS work with UNESCO,partnership with Conference des ministres de l 'éducation des pays ayant le français en partage (CONFEMEN)and the World Bank, and re-orientation of French aid in education - these are all measures to which France is committed.Mr Josselin finished by calling for a balance between meeting urgent and large needs,and sustaining efforts in the long term in pursuit of EFA goals.

France will make an exceptional effort in debt relief,calculated at 10 billion euros.We would wish this debt relief,as a matter of priority,to be of benefit to social sectors, particularly education. Charles Josselin


G-8:education now on the agenda

Speaking in his capacity both as Director-General for Italian Development Cooperation and Chair of the G-8 Task Force on Education,Mr Giandomenico Magliano noted that the creation of the Task Force was driven by a political will to combat poverty in all its aspects - social, cultural and ethical,as well as economic and financial. He noted that this was a significant shift in policy direction.In contrast to previous G-8 summits,the Genoa Summit was characterized as 'extroverted ' - the group would now be more outward-looking and take concrete decisions with respect to its active participation as a group in international development.

Mr Magliano emphasized the current context of globalization and noted the need for 'more global governance '.He defined the policy framework to this end in a threefold way:

_ valorization of human capital
_ safeguarding of natural capital
_ equitable distribution of financial capital

With regard to education, the G-8 group is aware of the need to give priority to education within poverty reduction strategies and, to strengthen educational strategies through ICTs,as well as supporting the role of UNESCO in working towards EFA goals.The specific aims of the Task Force are:

_ to facilitate coordination between governments and donors
_ to mobilize the necessary additional resources
_ to respond to clearly identified needs
_ to monitor commitments made at Dakar,in cooperation with other stakeholders

In conclusion,Mr Magliano announced an additional voluntary contribution from Italy to UNESCO and called upon the latter to 'help developing countries to mainstream education in their development policies and in stimulating developed countries to mobilize additional resources and to improve both effectiveness and coherence in supporting country-owned education strategies.'

…the Heads of State and of Government of the G-8 countries,on the occasion of the Genoa Summit, recognized the fundamental role played by education as a central factor for growth and mployment.
Giandomenico Magliano


Gaps of financing and policy identified by the World Bank

In EFA there is a financing gap and a policy gap. This was argued by Mr Jozef Ritzen,Vice-President for Human Development at the World Bank.In an introduction he mentioned the enormous challenge faced by some countries in meeting the goals of gender equity
and universal schooling,a challenge complicated by the HIV/AIDS pandemic.Debt relief will go some way to filling the financing gap - he estimated that around 40%of debt relief is being used for education.What is the remaining need?Mr Ritzen was not satisfied that we know the answer,since estimates,including those of the World Bank,are based on doing more of what is already being done;this is unlikely to reach the poorest and most marginalized populations without access to education.Nor are the costs of ensuring that each child completes primary education factored in.The policy gap exists because learning outcomes are not adequate and not commensurate with inputs.Reforming the education system is politically charged,but must be tackled.Levels of school equipment and numbers of hours in school must be addressed by policy shifts.

Cooperation in EFA will be based on national ownership of education reform,a broad exchange of knowledge and experience,good budget support for education and space for policy development. Local capacity is crucial and must be built up - in ministries,think tanks,civil society and statistical services.The World Bank,Mr Ritzen affirmed,is ready to work to mobilize additional resources for EFA and to support policies that address the needs of the most marginalized:street children ,the disabled,child workers and those affected by the impact of HIV/AIDS.

Remarking on the events of 11 September, Mr Ritzen observed that a 'textbook war ' often precedes a conflict, when good neighbours are portrayed as adversaries.The impact of recent events may positively affect international solidarity,but have a negative effect on the availability of resources.

The effort to fill the financing gap must necessarily be matched by a firm commitment at the country level to fill the policy gap … The financing gap and the policy gap must be closed.We owe it to the children of the world.
Jozef Ritzen


Discussion and reactions

This important topic - the mobilization of resources - stimulated a lively and extensive debate,with the emphasis on developing concrete responses and finding practical ways forward in the pursuit of EFA goals. Despite the above reported figures and commitments, the participants in the High-Level Group recognized that much more will be needed to reverse the decline of development flows which occurred in the 1990s.Unless there is major progress in mobilizing stronger international political will and mobilizing greater financial resources, the EFA goals will not be reached on time or at all.

How can the pledge of Dakar to meet the financing gap be fulfilled?The commitment to Dakar supposes that a country will develop strategies to reach the six goals of the Dakar Framework for Action. In order to facilitate international support for the implementation of these strategies,it was recommended that a mechanism be established to set clear criteria for assessing whether a given country is politically seriously committed to EFA goals.Through these mechanisms,the credibility of national EFA plans could be assessed and the countries could then more easily become candidates for increased international support,as pledged in the Dakar Framework for Action.

In the context of setting these criteria,special attention should be given to efforts made to achieve universal primary education (UPE)as soon as possible and at the latest by 2015,and to efforts made to eliminate gender disparities by 2005.Free compulsory primary education, including provision of books, uniforms,transport and so on for the poorest,and a safe school and learning environment, were also considered as areas of special concern in the context of assessing the seriousness of countries ' commitment to EFA goals..Some countries will require a dramatic shift in policy if they are to be considered seriously committed to reaching out to the more marginalized populations.The effort to meet the financing gap must necessarily be matched by a firm
political commitment at the country level. It was also noted on several occasions that resources should not only be understood exclusively as financial resources. Achievements will not be made without human resources and technical cooperation.

NGO representatives cautioned international partners that increased access to resources should not be tantamount to an increase of the debt burden of the recipient country. Access to funds should as far as possible be in the form of grants. Special attention should be given to heavily indebted countries.It was also urged that resources should not be invested in education
systems showing little efficiency,but only in systems that perform well in terms of access,equity and quality.

A number of areas demand special attention in terms of investment.Preventive education relating to the spread of the HIV/AIDS pandemic,provision of education in emergency and crisis situations,gender equity and girls ' education,,teacher training and improved working conditions for teachers,and the establishment of safe school and learning environments - these issues were touched upon again and again as areas which demand special attention in terms of investment.Despite the fact that HIV/AIDS and unstable situations such as conflict and civil war are undermining educational delivery,these
challenges must not be seen as problems which make progress impossible.They should,on the contrary,be addressed with adequate attention and resources.

The poor level of learning outcomes was also mentioned as an area of special concern.The establishment of sustainable book provision and an efficient use of ICTs in educational delivery would be relative simple ways of making a big difference in improving the quality of education. Basic education and in particular UPE remain the priority of priorities.UNESCO was urged to come up with a firm view of the strategies needed to achieve UPE.This being said, several participants remarked that the commitment to Dakar should not hamper the development of the other levels of education,such as secondary and higher education.

Greater coordination between development agencies at the international and national levels was highlighted as a prerequisite for reducing the administrative burden faced by many developing countries that deal with many different partners at the same time for the achievement of national development objectives.

The importance of integrating national EFA plans into broader development frameworks and sector-wide approaches,in particular PRSPs,was reiterated as a prerequisite for sustainable development and appropriate coordination among development partners at the national level.The inter-connections between national EFA plans and poverty reduction strategies were also considered a determining factor for the continuity of long-term support of international partners to the implementation of these plans.If EFA plans were established separately, as 'UNESCO-EFA Plans ' there would be a risk of fragmentation and parallel systems,as well as duplication of efforts.To build on existing structures and experience was therefore considered crucial for efficient
resource utilization.EFA partners should,in return, ensure that the national PRSPs and other frameworks pay sufficient attention to the six EFA goals.

Participants highlighted once again the importance of national ownership of processes within EFA to ensure sustainability beyond the intervention of any
international partner.Broad consultation and community participation were cited as prerequisites for ensuring the effectiveness of educational programmes.Countries should set their own development goals and targets,and the international community should be partners (financial as well as technical)in this endeavour. Investment of time,financial and human resources in national and institutional capacity-building must go hand in hand in order to develop critical and analytical operational think-tanks at national level.

Several speakers expressed concerns about how to maintain the momentum of EFA over the years.There is an urgent need to meet the high expectations of countries who are ready with well-elaborated EFA plans and now seek funding to go ahead with implementation. The United Republic of Tanzania was mentioned as an example which needs approximately US$93 million per year for EFA.The international community must respond concretely to countries in order to maintain the EFA momentum - this action cannot be delayed for one or two years.Action is needed now to reflect the international commitment made in Dakar and to facilitate the delivery of results at the outcome and classroom level.

To implement EFA goals and sustain the process,it will be necessary to go beyond traditional ways of financing education.Most speakers mentioned the crucial role that civil society participation,and local governance and management would have to play in meeting educational needs.Momentum will only be maintained in the long-term if society at the grassroots gains in the process.Participants stressed the necessity to break with conventional ways of financing education;local governance of the aid itself was suggested as an innovative strategy.


Civil society participation

Civil society has a unique and essential contribution - Oxfam GB

Ms Barbara Stocking,Director of Oxfam GB,began by listing what civil society and NGOs bring to the EFA table:deep connections with what is happening on the ground and a sense of what will and will not work. Internationally,civil society works to keep education high on the global agenda,to monitor progress, to advocate for change and to promote public support. Nationally,civil society must be involved in the formulation of EFA plans and in monitoring their implementation. At the local level - a particular focus of civil society - experimentation,,innovation and the promotion of accountability within the community are areas of action of NGOs.Referring to the global initiative,Ms Stocking emphasized the aim to achieve free and universal basic education, without any hidden costs. The global initiative must have a strong national monitoring component,with publicly available reports,and a viable mechanism for closing financing gaps. Turning to the outcomes of the High Level-Group, the Oxfam GB Director called for urgent action to identify gaps in financing country by country - to be completed by March 2002 in time for the rescheduled United Nations Special Session and the Canada G-8 meeting.Support for developing national plans must be organized,especially where there are gaps of policy and practice.The High-Level Group might benefit from being smaller,with rotating representation. This could expedite the progress that is urgently needed.UNESCO faces the challenge of channelling the strong commitment of the High-Level Group - and must do so if the meeting is to make a difference.

What civil society brings is often a great sense of reality of what will work,what the situation really is,and how people want their education system to work.
Barbara Stocking


Education as a human right - Global March against Child Labour

Drawing on his experience in working with children who are victims of slavery and prostitution, Mr Kailash Satyarthi, Chairperson of the Global March against Child Labour,saw education as the key to their liberation. He quoted examples from India,the Philippines and Brazil to demonstrate how education can be a means of empowering children and their parents in ways that enable them to escape the indignity of slavery,bonded labour and unrepayable debt.Education is a non- negotiable human right and yet it is often not respected or implemented as such.Mr Satyarthi presented seven areas of action as key elements towards this end:

_ local ownership pro-actively using local media and institutions to lobby for greater political will;
_ participation of all stakeholders,including civil society
- this will need support where governments perceive civil society organizations as critics;
_ timely and adequate funding,both internal and external;
_ commitment to the elimination of child labour,with the conviction that education is the most powerful preventative measure;
_ effective monitoring mechanisms locally,nationally and internationally,with broad participation and transparency;
_ systems for recourse and redress:where parents want to exercise the right to education for their children, there must be institutions equipped to provide speedy recourse;and _ coordination across ministries and departments,and with civil society organizations working in a variety of areas involving education links with gender, employment,disability,HIV/AIDS,minorities and many other areas.

Mr Satyarthi pleaded strongly for mechanisms at national and sub-national levels to monitor the implementation of education as a human right, in ways parallel to the monitoring of other human rights. This frequently involves human rights commissions at national level and, he proposed, should involve vigilance committees at district level. Quoting an Indian boy's reply to former United States President Clinton, Mr Satyarthi concluded that we all face the challenge of working for education for all, in whatever capacity we can.

Yesterday 's truth was that you cannot sleep in peace if your neighbour is hungry,but today 's truth is you cannot even live or work in peace if your neighbour is kept uneducated.
Kailash Satyarthi


Discussion and reactions

Participants responded to the presentations with a number of further ways in which civil society must be engaged in EFA. It was emphasized that cooperation with civil society has a growing place in EFA processes in many contexts, but not everywhere as yet. Efforts must continue at all levels to bring civil society into the process. Governments cannot achieve EFA on their own, and need to cooperate with civil society; they must also reach out to the private sector. At a local level, EFA requires harmonious cooperation between local authorities and local communities. Early childhood development also needs the mobilization of local communities. The role of civil society is crucial in increasing enrolment, particularly of girls; schools in themselves are not enough, communities must be mobilized to send their children to school, for instance in slum areas, and civil society can be a mobilizing force. They also have a role to play in taking the EFA message out to the grassroots - a challenge where there are barriers of distance, diversity and language. In some contexts, civil society can ensure greater continuity than governments.

Civil society engagement must include teachers and their organizations, with due attention to teacher training as well as to teachers' role and status. Civil society representatives called for greater sharing across regions of ways in which civil society is engaged in the EFA process and they commented on the waste of resources on arms that could be used to fund EFA initiatives. As civil society strengthens links with the United Nations system there needs to be transparent communication of plans and strategies to ensure full cooperation.

Participants took the opportunity to draw attention to countries at risk needing special consideration; otherwise they will have no chance to reach the Dakar goals. Within countries, the most disadvantaged groups must be specifically targeted - 'the least privileged amongst the under-privileged'. Basic education is a human right and a factor in social change; how can we ensure that we channel resources to human resource development in those countries where illiteracy is high?

Several participants mentioned a holistic approach to education - ensuring that relevant links and connections are maximized. This means looking at the different levels of education in a coherent manner, focusing on the values that underpin the quality of education, recognizing that education is a matter of human relations, and establishing links between formal and non-formal approaches at local level.


Monitoring EFA progress towards a quality annual report


The Monitoring Report was welcomed as a useful tool in assessing progress; UNESCO's Director-General noted that this was a first attempt and he committed UNESCO to producing a high quality report in future years as input to the work of the High-Level Group.

Participants emphasized that the the report should be a learning tool for all those involved in EFA. Future editions should therefore problematize EFA experience, present what has worked and what has not worked, note which countries are in danger of not meeting the Dakar targets, and specify good examples and successes. The report should analyse the reasons for these different situations and draw out the lessons to be learned.

To do this, the report must be a practical monitoring instrument. One of the conditions to monitor progress is accurate data. Thus the annual monitoring report should provide accurate statistics about results achieved at the national level, clearly specifying which countries are making progress and which face severe problems in implementing strategies for meeting the goals of EFA. The document should contain accurate qualitative and quantitative data presented country-by-country. It should thereby become a practical tool for the High-Level Group to sustain the long-term commitment required for stable resource mobilization. It would enable the group to monitor concrete progress and the international community to react to these results.

The important role of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) was recognized by the High-Level Group for the elaboration of a quality report with accurate data. UIS would provide the core up-to-date data and UNESCO would have the responsibility to put the report into shape and context.

The yearly monitoring reports should also reflect progress made through the increased international cooperation and mobilization towards EFA by other agencies and forums, as for instance progress made by the G-8 special Task Force on Education. The report should reflect shifts in focus and priorities of international agencies in support of EFA.

Specific indicators should be elaborated to measure flow of funds so that these figures could be appropriately monitored, and mutual accountability installed. In summary, the annual Monitoring Report should:

- provide each year a means of assessing progress
- serve as a major tool for the High-Level Group to discharge its monitoring responsibility
- use indicators that are relevant and underpin the High-Level Group's monitoring role
- take an analytical and in-depth approach
- provide precise data of high quality, based on national input
- provide national and aggregated data
- show which countries are doing well and why, and identify best practices
- examine EFA experiences with a view to learning lessons

UNESCO will coordinate the report, shaping it by identifying and highlighting current issues or regions/countries of concern, e.g. HIV/AIDS impact, countries needing help with national plans. UIS will have a central role in providing high quality and accurate data.

Role and nature of the High - Level Group

From the start of the meeting,participants raised questions about the nature and role of the group.The last session of the meeting provided an opportunity for an in-depth exchange of views on this issue.As far as this first meeting of the Group was concerned,it provided an opportunity to bring together,at UNESCO ’s instigation,an appropriate representation of EFA actors (developing countries,civil society,bilateral and multilateral agencies)and to demonstrate the broad consensus around EFA and the Dakar goals;it has re- expressed a collective commitment to EFA,thus maintaining political will and momentum,and it has given donors the opportunity to express and specify their commitments to EFA,in the hearing of developing country governments.

The discussion about the Group ’s role raised fundamental questions of global governance, which UNESCO ’s Assistant Director-General for Education, John Daniel,addressed.He distinguished between governance (generating political will and momentum) and management (day-to-day organization of the work), and asked whether a global governance structure for education is necessary or desirable.Such a structure might restrict existing multilateral and bilateral agencies in their priorities.However,management structures will carry EFA work forward coherently,particularly if well plugged into government and agency institutions.Formal structures for this purpose include this High-Level Group and the EFA Working Group,while informal arrangements include ad hoc groups looking at various aspects of EFA.These various structures work because partners are willing to cooperate,so the question becomes:how can the management of EFA be improved?

Given the importance of involving the private sector in supporting the EFA movement,it was recommended that special effort should be made to invite private sector stakeholders to the High-Level Group.

Participants made suggestions as to the role and function of the Group,as well as about its structure and process,as follows:

In terms of function and role,the High-Level Group should

- generate political commitment at the highest levels
- ensure that the Dakar goals are operationalized
- act as a catalyst for resource mobilization for EFA
- keep on track the efforts of all the partners and monitor the contributions of all partners
- use its legitimacy under the auspices of UNESCO and as part of the United Nations system to call others, such as donors and other international and regional agencies,to account for their part in EFA
- examine an analytical presentation of EFA progress using the Monitoring Report
- identify and address problems in progress towards EFA goals
- focus on problem-solving and lesson-learning set time-bound goals and specify actions to enhance efficient achievement of EFA targets

In terms of structure and process the High-Level Group

could be smaller,possibly around 15 people,in order to facilitate more focused discussion,while maintaining its representative nature
- should,whatever its size,adopt a working style and process to foster genuine and open dialogue
- should be a place of interactive discussion,with written statements/speeches being handed out,not presented orally
- should meet annually to examine and act on the Monitoring Report
- should be flexible
- should enable continuity of membership,while also allowing for change of membership over time

The discussion about the Group ’s role raised fundamental questions of global governance,which UNESCO ’s Assistant Director-General for Education,John Daniel, addressed.

 

An observer's viewpoint



This report would not be complete without an attempt to capture the tone and ethos of the meeting — this section seeks to do that,based on observations of some of those not directly involved in the debate.

An encouragement :this meeting was ready for action! This was expressed in the cooperative spirit which prevailed throughout the two days.The full participation of all the different actors contributed to a spirit of mutual respect and dialogue.Civil society was recognized to be a full partner in EFA forums,for planning,policy development,implementation and monitoring,even if some national contexts need encouragement to move away from restricting or resisting the involvement of civil society.For its part, civil society pledged to work with governments and the multilateral agencies in finding solutions and monitoring progress.Concrete commitment came in the form of specific public pledges,made during the meeting,on the part of several bilateral and multilateral donors,to increase their financing for various aspects of EFA.

An ambivalence :two of the Dakar goals address levels of adult literacy,a point which UNESCO ’s Director-General recalled during the meeting.It was noticeable that non-formal education and literacy were mentioned in the papers or interventions by at least eight participants from the South. However,they were mentioned hardly at all by multilateral or bilateral agencies — non--formal education and literacy seem to be high on the agenda of developing countries, but not so visible on the donors ’ agenda.

An affirmation (and a challenge!): there was a clear acknowledgement of UNESCO ’s role in coordinating EFA efforts.This included the coordination of partnerships, for example through the High-Level Group and the Working Group,as well as using its position to ensure that multilateral and bilateral partners follow through on their financial commitments.It was clear from the discussion that the group looks to UNESCO for intellectual leadership also,particularly with regard to the conceptual development of EFA and the formulation of strategies. Participants called on UNESCO to be a source of inspiration,as well as to communicate its plans clearly and transparently. In contrast to a year ago, UNESCO ’s efforts in EFA coordination were recognized, and not merely recognized;questions were asked — and offers made — about the level of resources which UNESCO needs to do the job:staff,technical and financial inputs.These reactions demonstrate on the one hand the crucial importance of the EFA coordinating role and the high expectations of UNESCO in this regard,and on the other hand,a new spirit of confidence that UNESCO is up to the challenge.



Conclusion


In the concluding session,UNESCO ’s Assistant Director- General for Education enumerated five action points arising out of the meeting for UNESCO and Member States:

1- Preparing national EFA plans is the means to accelerate progress towards the Dakar goals.

2- Building on existing structures,partners at country level must develop criteria for assessing progress.

3- A comprehensive strategy to operationalize the Dakar Framework for Action will be prepared by March 2002.This will spell out time-lines,integrate flagship programmes,show linkages between activities and present the final formulation of the global initiative.

4- UNESCO will prepare an authoritative Monitoring Report ,after first devising a scheme for managing and processing the report ’s preparation.

5- UNESCO will continue to dialogue about the structure and form of the High-Level Group,taking into account this first experience and the observations made.

The principal output of the meeting was the Final Communiqué (for full text see Appendix 2)which was adopted unanimously after discussion.Apart from questions of clarification of wording and of harmonization of the English and French versions,most discussion centred on the nature and composition of the Task Force mentioned in the third recommendation of the Communiqué:who would be a member and to whom does it report?The Lead Manager of the Dakar Follow-up Unit clarified that the Task Force would have fewer than fifteen members drawn from the different constituencies represented at the High-Level Group,namely developing countries, industrialized countries, international agencies and civil society,and that,as far as possible,it would meet virtually and draw upon the work initiated in this regard by the second WGEFA in its meeting of September 2001.The Assistant Director- General for Education said that the Task Force will report to the Director-General of UNESCO,who has the mandate to coordinate EFA efforts.The High-Level Group accepted these clarifications and agreed to review the progress of the Task Force at its next meeting.Wording to this effect was inserted into the text of the Communiqué.

The Director-General of UNESCO concluded the proceedings,in the presence of the President of UNESCO ’s General Conference and of the Chair of UNESCO Executive Board,by thanking all the participants for their contributions to the meeting and their commitment to Education for All.

The principal output of the meeting was the Final Communiqué which was adopted unanimously after discussion.