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Final Report of the Third Meeting, 2002


 

Preface

The EFA Working Group is unique in its role as an international forum where leading educational professionals from a wide variety of countries, networks and organisations can meet for substantive dialogue around EFA. This session of the Working Group demonstrated that the EFA movement, two years on from Dakar, is gathering significant momentum.

Partnership is the name of the game in EFA, and it is here that I was pleased to note a very positive change of tone. This year there was deeper and more transparent dialogue, coupled with a real concern to listen to each other. Each partner built on their strengths and brought their perspective to bear in the debate, recognising the role of others as they did the same. Working together in such mutual and complementary ways augurs well for increased consistency and coherence in international support to EFA.

The meeting acknowledged openly outstanding issues and problem areas in EFA and sought to address them seriously and concretely, as this report makes clear. Participants examined closely the experience of India and Burkina Faso, presented as case studies, and manifested a desire to know how these two countries had addressed difficulties and dealt with the implications of their experience. So intense was the concern to find concrete ways of moving forward that some of the questions posed in groups or in the plenary sessions were left unanswered. This betokens the value of a forum such as the Working Group, as well as the need to find opportunities on other occasions and in other places for EFA partners to come together in dialogue and debate.

The Working Group received the new document entitled An international strategy to put the Dakar Framework for Action on Education for All into operation, on which it began work a year ago. The five major elements identified in the Strategy (planning, communication and advocacy, financing, monitoring and evaluation, international and regional mechanisms) emerged as an effective way of structuring the international dialogue around EFA. We must build on this Working Group meeting to turn this dialogue into effective and sustained support for national-level implementation.
We are conscious of the urgency of Education for All, both because of the specific Dakar deadlines and because of the crucial role which basic education plays in all aspects of development. This meeting of the Working Group demonstrated through its cooperative spirit that an improved partnership process will significantly enhance our collective response to this urgency.

John Daniel
Assistant Director-General for Education
UNESCO

 

1 Introduction

As one of the key mechanisms in the international coordination of Education for All (EFA), the third meeting of the Working Group built on the growing momentum of action in support of the Dakar goals. In accordance with its advisory role, the Working Group focused on giving greater impetus to four key areas - planning, financing, advocacy and monitoring - in the context of strengthening partnerships and joint commitment.

In his opening address the Director-General of UNESCO, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura welcomed old and new participants and recalled that the previous meeting of the Working Group took place as news of the 11 September events was breaking. He noted that this underlines how vital EFA is in learning to live together and how basic education must be linked to broad social purposes. In this respect Mr Matsuura emphasised how important the varied perspectives of Working Group members are because "by harnessing and harmonizing our different approaches, strategies and priorities, our EFA partnerships bring a variety of strengths into play." The Director-General rehearsed areas of significant progress in EFA in recent months, notably in planning, financing and advocating for EFA, and went on to highlight two further areas of change. These are the establishment of a team to work on the annual EFA Monitoring Report, and the changes in the nature and dynamics of the High-Level Group meeting. He also remarked that the Working Group and the High-Level Group "share common ways of working", both in terms of constituencies represented and the focus of their agendas, with the latter structured around the elements of the newly published EFA International Strategy: planning, advocacy, funding, implementation, monitoring, and building and strengthening partnerships. He concluded by urging the Working Group to keep the whole of the Dakar agenda at the centre of the their deliberations.

In his opening remarks as Chair of the meeting, Mr John Daniel, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Education, observed that the EFA movement, two years on from Dakar, is gaining in maturity, cohesiveness and dynamism, which it is the Working Group's task to reinforce. He called on the meeting to clarify and give greater impetus to four areas: planning and implementation, financing, in particular regarding the fast track initiative, advocacy and communication, monitoring and reporting. He noted that reports from discussion groups on these topics would not lead to a declaration, but would guide the work of the High-Level Group meeting in Abuja, Nigeria in November 2002.

The meeting, lasting one-and-a-half days, adopted a programme which included plenary presentations and discussions, discussion groups on four different topics and feedback to the whole group.

Structure and purpose of the current report

This report follows the structure of the agenda, which is appended. Plenary presentations are summarised, followed by a digest of the subsequent discussion and recommendations. Group discussions are introduced by the questions the groups were asked to address, with a report on the groups' findings drawn from the summaries they presented to the meeting as feedback.

The Director-General's opening address, the discussion group briefing notes, the list of participants and observers, the agenda and a complete list of documents are appended to this report.

2 Planning and implementing EFA

December 2002 is the deadline towards which EFA partners are working to complete planning processes. As a way of assessing progress India and Burkina Faso presented their experience of planning to date, each country telling the story from the point of view of government, civil society and academia. Presenters were asked to give attention to the organisation of EFA planning, partnerships and consultation, and to sources of financing. The principal issues raised and the lessons learned are summarised below. The full papers are available on the EFA website, or on request from UNESCO.


Experience in India and Burkina Faso

EFA planning and implementation in India have been enhanced by a constitutional amendment enshrining the fundamental right to education. Central government EFA targets on primary school (eight years of quality basic education available to all children by 2010), adult literacy (75% literacy by 2005) and gender equality (by 2010 for first eight years of schooling) are more ambitious than the Dakar horizons. Planning for this involves a series of consultations at state and national level, with the inclusion of NGOs, research institutions, and professionals as well as government at each level. School mapping and micro planning at community level are also envisaged. Challenges in the planning process include inter-state disparity, the need to reach remote and minority groups, and to avoid discriminatory provision based on gender and socio-economic parameters. Developing state-specific programmes, giving emphasis to early childhood education, linking literacy with life-skills and improving quality will require special attention. Financing is largely internal, and its effective use is a critical challenge. Partnership with civil society has brought school and community closer together; and the voice of civil society in moulding public opinion could be strengthened through interaction with the international community.

The urgent situation of child workers and the total incompatibility of child labour with universal quality education formed the basis for the civil society perspective. Along with a clear commitment to the right to education should go an unequivocal conviction that no child should work. Educational provision must respond to parental demand, and the system should provide an environment compatible with the needs of those families and children who are experiencing school for the first time - this implies, for instance, flexibility of admission rules and consciousness of the forces operating on children outside of school. Schools need to give attention in their organisation and their pedagogy to retaining children in school. Alternative educational provision should give the possibility to enter mainstream schooling. EFA planning and implementation must be based on firmly establishing children's right to education.

A ten-year plan for basic education, adopted by Burkina Faso in 1999, is now in the process of updating to include the Dakar goals more specifically. This dovetails with PRSP processes, and also with regional efforts to put the education goals of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) into operation. The planning process became more inclusive in 2002 with the establishment of a joint committee bringing relevant ministries and civil society together, with a national forum in July 2002. Civil society, who were included after lobbying efforts during the Global EFA Week, are represented through a formal grouping of NGOs, teachers' unions and parents' associations (Cadre de Concertation des ONG et Associations en Education de Base au Burkina Faso - CCEB/BF). Newly established EFA steering committees at central, regional and provincial levels are charged with planning, supervising and evaluating educational planning.

Flexibility in the implementation of plans is achieved by drawing up yearly plans of action in each province.

Funding is largely from three sources: the state budget, HIPC funding, and external support. Flexibility in funding EFA is felt to be essential, with funding not too tightly targeted or timed. An inclusive process of planning will enhance flexibility, and this is seen notably in the creation of a fund for non-formal education administered jointly by governmental and non-governmental partners. Implementation should also proceed flexibly, avoiding rigid mechanisms or tight timetables, and working to include all the Dakar goals. Otherwise, to borrow a metaphor from football - "there is the danger of getting to the goalmouth very quickly, but without the ball!"

Response to country presentations

Mr John Morris, of CIDA, responded to the country presentations by offering reflections on four areas: national EFA forums, EFA goals, EFA plans, and key policy options. He began by noting the strong contrast between the size and situation of India and Burkina Faso, while observing that the goal is the same. His remarks highlighted the lessons to be learnt from the experience of each country.

National EFA forums: with different approaches, consultations and partnership-building are taking place. It was less clear how much information-sharing is part of this. Does it take place informally?

EFA goals: on an analysis of all six Dakar goals, both countries address primary education, adult literacy, gender equality and quality. There was less clarity about early childhood care and development, with questions about the nature of 'care', 'development', and 'education'. Similar issues surround the promotion of life-skills.

EFA plans: there is still some confusion between EFA planning, and a national education plan. Burkina Faso described efforts to reconcile these two approaches. Consultation with civil society in planning is apparent in both places, though there remains a question whether this implies significant participation also. India indicated a pro-active approach to excluded groups, such as minorities, remote and rural populations, refugees, and so on, using disaggregated data and school mapping.

Key policy options: Burkina Faso intends to use schools more effectively to increase opportunity for access. The improvement in the quality of education (in terms of teachers, textbooks, etc) is well identified in both plans. Stimulating demand is another key policy option: making schools attractive, removing constraints and barriers have been addressed partially. India is making efforts in non-formal education. Two issues were not part of planning in either place: the role of universities in EFA, and the problem of HIV/AIDS.

Summing up, Mr Morris drew three questions from his observations:

- What kind of schools we are putting children into?
- How can we ensure that adults continue their education?
- Will tomorrow's solution bring tomorrow's problem?

Discussion and Recommendations

The plenary discussion developed further a number of issues:

- Efforts must be made to avoid multiple planning processes, and to link EFA planning with other development sectors
- EFA planning processes should be increasingly inclusive, particularly with regard to the full participation of civil society.

Several civil society representatives called for capacity building so that NGOs and other civil society organisations are better equipped to take part in the policy debate, and particularly to turn their extensive experience into policy input. It was noted that civil society action through the Global EFA Week in Burkina Faso had resulted in a more inclusive process. In addition, teachers' organisations, not mentioned in the presentations, should participate in EFA planning.

- The distribution of resources of all kinds is crucial - finances, people, learning resources - and begs the question of how to transform the system of distribution. This is linked to policy choices.

- The broader scope of EFA was emphasised, both the goals beyond the formal school system and the links with secondary education and vocational training.

- The 2005 gender goal must be adhered to, with planning for it linked to UNGEI; the issue of girls' work, often invisible, and of child workers in general, needs urgent attention.

3 Financing EFA

The Fast Track Initiative

In his introductory remarks, Mr. Robert Prouty of the World Bank highlighted the following points:

- The Fast Track Initiative should not be seen merely as a World Bank initiative; the World Bank sees itself as the facilitator of a process working towards a broad international consensus.

- The Fast Track Initiative is only a part of EFA efforts, alongside other plans in support of EFA. Although it concentrates on universal primary completion (UPC), it should also cover the gender and quality goals. Moreover, the other Dakar goals should also "be part of the picture".

In his presentation Mr Prouty quoted World Bank research which shows that 89 countries are currently not on track to meet the UPC goal by 2015. Some emerging challenges compound the problem: HIV/AIDS (particularly in Southern Africa), conflict situations, the widening knowledge and digital gap, and the distribution of information technology resources.

Noting positive developments in EFA such as broader commitment within countries and in the international community, Guinea, Uganda and India (Uttar Pradesh) were cited as examples of significant progress. The indicative framework, which details targets for the efficient functioning of the primary education system, focuses on domestic commitment and service delivery. On the one hand it should be seen as a global analysis, but on the other hand, it depends on a country-by-country assessment. Taking the example of teacher salaries: in some countries, they are not enough paid, in others, they are paid too much (in relation to the national budget). The indicative framework is a necessary but not sufficient condition for a good system - issues of distribution, context and management are crucial parameters.

External support under the fast-track initiative should be incremental, flexible (including support for recurrent costs), better coordinated with lower transaction costs for recipients, and predictable in order to enable planning over the medium term. The eighteen countries "invited to apply", qualified on the basis of a completed PRSP, and an existing education sector plan. For five additional countries, where out-of-school rates are the highest and where the largest absolute numbers of unschooled children live, the World Bank has "made an effort", as these countries (four E-9 countries and the Democratic Republic of Congo) do not satisfy all the criteria.

Discussion and Recommendations

While welcoming the fast-track initiative as an important step in honouring the commitments made in Dakar, Working

Group members engaged in a lively debate around issues which must be borne in mind in implementing the initiative:

Dakar agenda: all six EFA goals should be kept in focus and equally need financial support - the EFA agenda must not be replaced by the education targets of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The fast track initiative must avoid being too results-oriented, whereas the EFA movement is a process.

Country selection: the process of selection lacked in transparency, and not all selected countries have demonstrated a commitment to participatory consultation, which is a clear part of the spirit of Dakar. Selection should not be limited only to countries seen as "donor darlings". In this respect USAID proposed that increased aid should be linked to "developing country readiness", which refers to a set of "clear, concrete and objective criteria for measuring the commitment of countries and their progress in achieving EFA", and civil society, developing countries and the donor community should further develop such criteria.

Funding modalities: implementation of the initiative should allow a range of funding modalities to be used, including coordination with existing arrangements. There is a need to go beyond the initiative also, as many more resources are needed for EFA.

Contextual factors: in negotiating the implementation of the initiative, special attention should be given to the role of teachers' organisations - current plans may lead to either to confrontation with them, or to their being co-opted. It was observed that the role of the disabled and their networks is neglected in current plans. HIV/AIDS and its impact on EFA must be fully factored in.

Administrative arrangements: the fast-track initiative should avoid duplicating existing plans, for example in the area of monitoring EFA. Its secretariat should be the minimum necessary. The lessons of the pilot phase should be learned before any further phase is embarked upon.

4 Strengthening partnerships

Strengthening of partnerships is one of the central goals of the Working Group, with the aim of improving the coordination, coherence and impact of joint efforts. These purposes underlie the document entitled An international strategy to put the Dakar Framework for Action on Education for All into operation, published in time for this meeting.

The EFA International Strategy

Mr Abhimanyu Singh of UNESCO opened the session underlining the importance of the process that led to the elaboration of this new version of the EFA International Strategy from the last working group meeting, the High Level Group, electronic consultation and task force meetings to this year's working group meeting. He also emphasised the fact that the Strategy is intended to be a living document, open to change. He encouraged all participants to help fine-tune this version further.

Mr. Clinton Robinson of UNESCO presented the strategy, emphasising that consultations had led to the change of the name from comprehensive strategy to international strategy. This signals the role and usefulness of the strategy as a reference document which proposes ways to maximise support from the international community to the national level. The strategy is divided into two major parts: first, a presentation of five major elements of EFA, and second, proposals for the implementation of the twelve strategies set out in the Dakar Framework for Action. The five elements are:

- Planning
- Communication and advocacy
- Financing
- Monitoring and evaluation
- International and regional mechanisms.

Four of these major elements are a necessary part of EFA promotion and support at national level, cast in a way that makes explicit the links with international action. The last element addresses international coordination. Examples of strategy 7 on HIV/AIDS and strategy 9 on enhancing the status, morale and professionalism of teachers served to illustrate how international support may enhance the implementation of the Dakar Framework. Asking the question 'what value does the International Strategy add?', Mr Robinson suggested a threefold role:

- a tool for setting priorities
- a grid in assigning responsibilities
- a reference guide to areas of mutual support
In conclusion, the International Strategy will serve as a working document in discussions and negotiations between national and international partners, and among international partners themselves, as exemplified by this meeting.

Discussion and Recommendations


In a brief discussion, members of the Working Group were concerned to link the International Strategy with existing and planned actions, in particular with the UN Literacy Decade, and with regional projects and programmes. Inter-agency meetings should define linkages, identify common issues and focus the partnership. There was also a call for a task force to be created to explore an education paradigm appropriate for the 21st Century.

FAO announced a new flagship on education for the rural people. The flagship intends to create synergy between education in and out of schools across age groups and fighting poverty and hunger. The representative underlined that 70% of the world's poor live in rural areas.

While welcoming the strategy as a way to bridge the gap between the national and international levels in EFA, questions were posed regarding the best way to use it and to monitor its effectiveness.

5 Group discussions

Four groups each took a major aspect of EFA partnership and structured their discussion around a set of questions, based on a briefing note (see Appendix 2). The questions and a summary of the group's deliberations are presented here.

Group 1: Sustainable political commitment with particular attention to advocacy and communication, including Global EFA week.

Questions for discussion (facilitated by UNESCO)

1. In the light of your experience of promoting EFA at national level, or with national partners, what are the principal obstacles to increasing political commitment, and what steps would you propose to overcome them?

2. In what ways can all ministries concerned with EFA best join forces to build political commitment to EFA?

3. From your experience, how adequate are the advocacy instruments, current and envisaged, for building political commitment? How can the Monitoring Report in particular enhance efforts in this regard?

The following were identified as obstacles to increasing political commitment and ways to overcome them:

- Inclusion and acceptance by governments of civil society and NGOs as fully fledged partners, participating at the highest political levels.

- Use of the untapped knowledge and experience of the disabled community and networks; both governments and media tend to ignore these groups whose needs will only be met on the basis of consultation.

- Need for mobilisation, planning and funding at sub-national level.

- Need to mobilise for EFA within donor countries also, where EFA awareness is very low among the public.

- Inclusive approaches to the establishment of EFA forums or other consultation groupings, with broad engagement of stakeholders early in the EFA process.

On the question of inter-ministerial cooperation, there was agreement that this is complicated by education responsibilities being divided among a number of different ministries. Moving beyond this requires high levels of political will and coordination.

Ideas flowed freely with regard to the use of instruments of advocacy and communication:

- Getting newspapers/their publishers involved in EFA: newspapers do carry stories about education but not under the heading of EFA; they are mostly interested in emergencies and what goes wrong
ù Positive example Nigeria: During EFA week, six Dakar goals published in newspapers in local languages - positive feedback!
ù Positive example: "Newspapers in Education"(newspapers distributed as supplementary learning/reading materials to schools);
ù Positive example: Raising the status of reporting on education by training journalists.

- Importance of tailoring messages to different target audiences: present the same message in different versions for different target audiences (e.g. develop different versions of the EFA website for students, teachers); develop messages for use through specific means of communication (e.g. rural radio)

- Need for right "packaging": EFA as a topic of little interest to newspapers, but literacy is; EFA stories need to be presented with a human face, with easy-to-grasp information and data; accessible messages; no bombarding of media with press releases and huge reports; tie EFA into larger political context and to current political topics to make it more attractive to the media (example: EFA in the context of globalization).

- Develop advocacy tools to reach those not reached by current tools: people with no access to internet, disabled people, people not interested in/able to read publications like the Monitoring Report. Current tools address mostly the higher administrative/political level (and preach to the converted).

- EFA week: need for earlier notification of all concerned partners to allow for better preparation and avoid duplication.
- Monitoring Report: need to monitor EFA achievements by social group, including breakdown for disabled people.
- Get inspiration from other successful publicity campaigns (e.g. Rights of the Child): posters for schools; bookmarks with the EFA logo; develop prototype EFA materials for use by students, teachers.

- Use UNESCO Clubs and Associated Schools Network for dissemination of EFA messages.

Later discussion on this feedback in plenary produced the following additional suggestion:

- efforts should be made to lobby parliaments for EFA , facilitating visits during which parliamentarians can see progress for themselves

Group 2: Planning and implementation: role of international agencies and donors.

Questions for discussion (facilitated by UNICEF)

1. How can international agencies and donors help to ensure that EFA plans, and the planning process, are properly grounded through greater involvement of civil society and other interest groups?

2. How can we ensure that countries have the total resource package they need for successful planning and implementation, rather than just the financial slice of that package?

3. What role can donors and international agencies play in putting this new concept ("accompanying countries") into operation in the countries most in need of being "accompanied"?

The following were recommended as strategies that would enable international development partners to support EFA planning at national level:

- Ownership at country level by all stakeholders, at all levels, including indigenous people, minority groups, private sector.
- Support innovations and south-to-south experience sharing, creating opportunities for reflection.
- Need for coherent messages, and transparency of roles and responsibilities.
- Decentralised planning and the use of "bottom-up" approach that is country-driven rather than donor-driven.
- Harmonize social services and macro-economic reform policies.
- Include crosscutting issues such as HIV/AIDS and child labour.
- Enlarge donor table to include INGOs and other development partners, as equal partners. Build capacity of all players at the table, including civil society.
- Include finance, expertise and experience in resource package.

A number of further strategies were suggested to enable international development partners (IDPs) to support implementation at national level.

- Although the country remains in charge of the process, IDPs need to ensure support to a quality process of implementation.
- The concept and process of IDPs 'accompanying' should have its base in the principles of flexibility and common responsibility for success or failure.
- Build capacity for leadership at community levels in order to sustain EFA strategies for implementation.
- Ensure the inclusion and partnership of academia and the private sector.

The group identified two action points:

- Elaborate the concept of 'accompanying' as one strategy for supporting EFA partnerships
- The Fast Track Initiative, in the spirit of an initiative owned by the IDPs and as a concrete response to the promises made at Dakar, should include the following criteria:
ù Partnership
ù Consultation
ù Flexibility
ù Process driven

Group 3: Financing EFA: domestic resource mobilization and external support.

Questions for discussion (facilitated by the World Bank)

1. What are the prospects for increased domestic resource mobilization for EFA, particularly in the poorest countries? What is the role for the international community in this?

2. Money talks. Money silences. How can funders ensure that their financial muscle does not skew national priorities?

3. Current external financing initiatives above all address primary schooling. What needs to happen so that more external support is made available to other parts of the Dakar agenda: early childhood care and development, life-skills for youth, adult literacy, quality issues?

Noting that these questions are related, the group tackled them as a whole and identified important contextual parameters: first, that external resources are small in proportion to national budgetary provision for EFA, second, that EFA covers various levels an aspects of education and third, that there are multiple mechanisms for financing.
For coordination of financing at national level, the following are necessary:

- Real ownership and in-country co-ordination.
- Need for donor meeting regarding specific financial framework.
- Government leadership in planning, qualitative and quantitative monitoring and evaluation.
- Genuine partnerships with civil society and donors.
- Harmonization of donor agency procedures and mechanisms and a code of conduct plus multi-donor consortium.
- Institutional capacity for effective co-ordination.

The fast track initiative, based on an estimate of a financing gap for UPE of US$2.5 - 5 billion was accepted as a way forward for the pilot countries. Absorptive capacity can be increased by channelling funds to school level.

Optimal domestic mobilization of funds will involve: improving efficiency in using national resources; increasing involvement of private sector; encouraging more equitable mobilization of revenue and expenditures

As part of building the capacity to improve and increase EFA implementation, a number of measures will be needed:

- Strengthening institutional framework for financing EFA.
- Including civil society in training plans and programmes.
- Providing training at national and regional and school levels.
- Finding ways and means to ensure that the capacity is sustained.

The group called for a better use of knowledge, seeing it as a shared commodity. Data must be relevant and available in order to inform policy, planning and implementation. Some issues for immediate action were identified:

- Countries in crisis - need a tailor-made approach.
- Abolition of user fees and charges.
- funding procedures among donors - common priorities, simplified procedures, code of conduct, common framework for measurement and evaluation
- Policies for equitable revenue and expenditures in-country.
- Improved national accountability.

In a brief feedback discussion in plenary, further remarks focused on:

- Establishing criteria for fast track funding beyond the pilot phase.
- Factoring in the new development funding commitments made at the Development Financing Conference in Monterrey and ensuring aid effectiveness.
- Donor behaviour: should they also reflect on stages of their own readiness in EFA funding?
- Using the five elements of partnership and action in the EFA International Strategy - they are a concrete way to look at the implementation of the twelve Dakar strategies.

Group 4: Assessing progress: bridging the data gap

Questions for discussion (facilitated by UIS)

1. What processes should be adopted to determine new EFA indicators and to manage their development?

2. What are the relative advantages of different sources of data including administrative data, school surveys, and household surveys? How can a combination of sources be best mobilised to monitor EFA?

3. What channels and means are there to obtain data from post-conflict countries, countries in crisis and other countries lacking adequate infrastructure?

4. How can we balance the short-term requirements of data for the EFA Monitoring Report and the long-term needs for sustainable capacity building of national statistical systems?

5. There are gaps in data provision even for some key indicators and the time lag for receiving data to feed into international monitoring is unacceptably long. In the light of these problems what can be done to help in collecting more comprehensive up-to-date data in order to monitor progress towards EFA goals as expeditiously as possible?

Addressing these questions in a holistic manner, the group first identified two principal objectives for monitoring and the use of data:

- Assist national policy making.
- Allow assessment of progress towards the Dakar goals for all countries.

It was noted that these can create a tension between building sustainable data collection systems in country and provision of timely data internationally.At an international level progress could be made in the following areas:

- Agree a set of core indicators to be used by all international organizations - these might be five or six in number, but certainly less than the 18 EFA indicators. This responds to pressure to measure outcomes and will require intensive dialogue between partners. However, a reduced set of indicators could result in a partial picture which may not always useful at national level.

- Recognize that data collection is expensive, and consider the possibility of donor funding.

- Make better use of existing data, including greater use of survey data to complete administrative data.At country level the following suggestions were made:

- Recognize that priorities for data needs change over time.

- Make greater use of qualitative measures.

- Collect data on gender, HIV/AIDS, health, etc on a sample basis, using more innovative approaches and building partnerships to use data from other sources.

- Build upon existing databases.

- Need for independent verification- this could be done by education-specific bodies or general statistical bodies.

Discussion of the group's recommendations in plenary session added the following recommendations:

- Data on rural areas must be collected specifically in order to monitor the rural/urban gap.

- A forum needs to be established where new indicators can be developed, for example on adult literacy, with participation of civil society.

- School-level management of data should be strengthened - this can be a direct and rapid way of ensuring reporting of data, using electronic communication technologies.

6 The EFA Monitoring Report

Professor Christopher Colclough, Director-Designate of the Monitoring Report team, traced briefly the history and vision of the Report, recalling the EFA High-Level Group's requirement that it should be authoritative and analytical. It should also hold EFA partners accountable for the commitments made in Dakar. Its aims are fourfold:

- To monitor progress towards the six Dakar goals.
- To assess the EFA planning process.
- To monitor the commitment of lenders, donors and civil society.
- To measure the gap in resources required to meet EFA goals.

Mr Simon Ellis, of the EFA Observatory at UIS, reported on the structure of the section to be devoted to monitoring the six Dakar goals, noting that indicators will for the most part measure national progress, with a few core indicators for international comparison. Data will be included from all sources, with a particular need to collect data from NGOs. He raised the following issues with regard to each of the Dakar goals:

- Early childhood care and education: data are needed on the wide range of provision - public, private, … What is the age range under consideration? Could health indicators be utilised?

- Universal primary education/completion: moving from gross enrolment ratio to net enrolment ratio. What do children actually learn? What is happening in school?

- Life-skills: this is the most problematic - what do we mean by life-skills? An international consultation is needed to lay a conceptual basis. Existing measures are inadequate.

- Literacy: existing measures are inadequate here also. Work on survey methodologies is being undertaken.

- Gender: indicators revolve around enrolment and survival in school, but what about learning content and quality from a gender perspective?

- Quality: a large number of indicators exist (teachers, infrastructure, achievement,…) but little consensus around them. UIS will seek to set out a framework.

Measurement of the education Millennium Development Goals should be consistent with measuring EFA progress. NGO data is especially needed for non-formal education; otherwise there is a danger of under-estimating progress in this field.

Professor Colclough concluded by outlining the contents of the other sections of the Monitoring Report - planning, financing and the assessment of international commitments.

Discussion and Recommendations

The rich discussion which ensued was a token of the depth of interest in the monitoring process and of the importance which the Working Group attaches to the Report. The following issues were raised:

- The quality of data must be ensured, by improving the timeliness of collection and monitoring data from additional sources.
- The whole Dakar agenda - all six goals - must form the focus of the Report.
- The Report must take care to look for data to address the situation of particularly marginalised groups, such as rural populations, ethnic minorities, the poorest, orphans and other out-of-school children, mothers' education, conflict situations, non-formal education.
- The Report should also assess whether there may be better ways of investing limited resources than simply putting more children in school.
- Peace and international understanding should be monitored along with the proposed human rights and human capabilities framework.
- A common framework for assessing plans and planning processes should be adopted, within which mobilisation should be included.
- The report should ensure mutual evaluation - including the evaluation of international partners, for instance donor coordination.
- The Report should look at where resources other than money actually end up - books, equipment, etc.
- Human interest stories will be an important dimension of the Report.
- A number of perspectives should be included in the Report, avoiding the impression that EFA is being viewed through a single lens.

In the light of the number of comments made, members of the Working Group were invited to give further written input to the Monitoring Report team.

7 The High-Level Group Programme

Mr Abhimanyu Singh, Lead Manager of UNESCO's Dakar Follow-up Unit, presented the main lines of the provisional programme and agenda of the second high-level group meeting on education for all, to be held in Abuja, Nigeria (19-20 November 2002). First, he recalled that the Dakar Framework for Action stipulates in paragraph 19 that "...UNESCO's Director-General will convene annually a high-level, small and flexible group. It will serve as a lever for political commitment and technical and financial resource mobilization." During the first meeting in 2001, there were concerns about its structure and process. The group could have been smaller, but its representative structure and its flexibility should be maintained.

Concerning the 2002 meeting, Mr Singh highlighted the importance of close consultation among major EFA partners. The work done by the Working Group is closely linked to that of the High-level Group which will also consider the major elements of EFA: planning, advocacy, financing, strengthening partnerships. After a public opening session the meeting will be divided into 6 substantive sessions: (1) EFA Monitoring report 2002; (2) Achieving gender equity; (3) EFA planning; (4) EFA financing; (5) EFA partnerships; (6) Adoption of the Final Communiqué. Following the Abuja meeting, a donors' meeting is scheduled for 27 November in Brussels, the major working document will be the 2002 EFA Monitoring Report.

In subsequent discussion, concerns were expressed about the size of the group and the shape of the proposed agenda: since it appears to focus on information-sharing, would the meeting lead to a problem-solving approach and to time-bound actions as a result? A small group of 'sherpas' would take the agenda forward in this respect; the issue of size must be balanced with the need to be representative. Questions were asked also about the use of the Monitoring Report - to which Mr Singh responded that it would be used to highlight the challenges that emerge in terms of the 6 goals. It was suggested that consideration be given to widening participation in the High-Level Group beyond education ministers to include ministers of finance and of development, even of health with respect to early childhood issues. In response, it was noted that finance and development ministers have been invited.

8 Conclusion

Key outcomes and recommendations for action

Planning for EFA: planning processes for EFA may take place legitimately in a number of frameworks - what matters is that the processes are fully inclusive and that they address all the six Dakar goals; special attention must be given to ensuring the participation of civil society.

Communication and advocacy: the communication job is never done! Sustained and creative communication and advocacy strategies will focus on influencing policy-makers, increasing political commitment and building awareness among the public.

EFA Financing: the fast track initiative will best be implemented by giving full attention to its negotiation in particular contexts. The financing of Dakar goals beyond UPC must urgently be addressed.

Monitoring and Evaluation: the Monitoring Report will provide a high-profile tool; it should monitor the full range and complexity of the Dakar goals, as well as evaluating the performance of all EFA partners.

International coordination: the High-Level Group will be most effective if it is action-oriented. The EFA International Strategy may serve as a tool in structuring partnerships between national and international partners.

Final remarks

The UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Education summed up by offering an assessment of the one-and-a-half days of talks, noting first of all that his is not a long-term perspective dating back to Jomtien, but rather a more recent one. He detected a real and significant change in the spirit and style of this meeting, in comparison to last year's event. In particular

- Full engagement by all the participants - a collaborative spirit seeking to drive the EFA movement forward.
- Keen focus on the issues rather than statement of particular experience.
- Encouraging reports from India and Burkina Faso demonstrating substantial progress and in which Working Group members showed real interest.
- Important lessons from these reports on engaging civil society and recognising the process as being as important as the output.
- Intensive work on EFA financing, with a commitment to keep working on it in partnership, and the need to give shape and reality to the fast track initiative in the next year.
- Appreciation for the welcome given to the International Strategy which would serve as a desk reference guide.
In conclusion, he stated that EFA is possible if pledges are kept, and the quality and intensity of partnership in evidence at this meeting are maintained.

Appendices

1. Speech by Director-General
2. Discussion group briefing notes
3. List of Participants and Observers
4. Agenda
5. List of documents