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.
Assistant Director-General for Education
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
- 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
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:
- Communication and advocacy
- 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
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
Group 1: Sustainable political commitment with particular
attention to advocacy and communication, including Global
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
- 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
ù Positive example Nigeria: During EFA week, six
Dakar goals published in newspapers in local languages -
ù Positive example: "Newspapers in Education"(newspapers
distributed as supplementary learning/reading materials
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
- 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
- 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
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
- Support innovations and south-to-south experience sharing,
creating opportunities for reflection.
- Need for coherent messages, and transparency of roles
- 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
- 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
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
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 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
- 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
- Finding ways and means to ensure that the capacity is
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
- Policies for equitable revenue and expenditures in-country.
- Improved national accountability.
In a brief feedback discussion in plenary, further remarks
- Establishing criteria for fast track funding beyond the
- 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
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
- 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,
is the age range under consideration? Could health indicators
- 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,
) 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
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
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
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.
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
- 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
- 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.
1. Speech by Director-General
2. Discussion group briefing notes
3. List of Participants and Observers
5. List of documents