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Working Group on Education for All

IV. Monitoring of EFA

Update on the EFA Observatory

Established in October 2000 within the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) the EFA Observatory will work to ‘collect, analyse and disseminate up-to-date information’ on progress in EFA. Ms Alison Kennedy of UIS went on to note that, in addition to collecting the necessary data, the Observatory will develop appropriate new methodologies, build capacity in the collection and use of statistics, and analyse/interpret cross-national data. This is with the aim of facilitating evidence-based policy-making. It will be a priority to do methodological work on indicators and difficult topics, such as literacy.

Survey 2000 was launched immediately after the Dakar World Education Forum and aims to collect core data – leading to a data set that will not only enable assessment of existing EFA indicators, but the development of new ones. Currently the focus is on formal education, but it is expected to expand. As well as working with UNESCO regional offices, UIS is seeking to build links with other partners such as UNICEF, the World Bank and bilateral agencies, and wants – ‘and needs’, according to Ms Kennedy – to develop closer ties with civil society. The Survey 2000 initiative includes a major component of capacity-building, focusing on countries where statistical capacity is currently weak. Annual regional workshops are planned – to include civil society staff as well as statisticians and government planners. Meetings of experts have also been held, with another planned on the financing of education. Quality of data is also a key area of focus, including consistent disaggregation by gender.

Monitoring report

Mr Edward Fiske, education journalist charged with drafting the report, presented an outline of the report for discussion. This focused on the nature of the report and the uses to which it will be put. An extensive discussion ensued in plenary, including the following points:

The report must serve to generate political will through the high-level group. This will depend to a large extent on how strong the ownership of the report process has been. Thus the report must include key areas of action for the coming year, which the high-level group will endorse.

Is the current outline a model for the format of future reports? While there was a feeling that a model format is needed quickly, there was also a sense that
the lessons of the first report should be learnt before longer term decisions are made. For input for the second report, the possibility of contacting countries
was raised in order to ask what they would want to see in a report. In any case, the urgency of starting work on the second report right after this high-level group meeting was underlined.

There was large agreement that the report should focus on the Dakar goals – all the Dakar goals – and progress towards them. Also, reference must be made to the wider poverty reduction targets to which EFA contributes. Reporting on progress in countries of special difficulty or under special constraints must be included.

Progress in developing national plans and in the process of doing so must be at the heart of the report, in accordance with the emphasis in Dakar.

Engagement with civil society in the formulation and implementation of plans should be an area of particular attention.

As well as reporting on progress, the report should draw attention to issues that emerge in the process of EFA, such as those raised at this meeting: credibility of national plans, financing and monitoring.

The report should not focus only on past progress, but also identify challenges for future action.

Building on this discussion the Working Group proposed the following recommendations:

- The monitoring report should be directed at all stakeholders not only the members of the high-level group. It should convey a sense of urgency.

- The high-level group meeting should enable a renewal of commitment and ensure that the EFA impetus is maintained. The high-level group represents a powerful lobby for countries lagging behind in fulfilling the EFA obligations.

- The monitoring report needs to consider closely the question of credibility of national plans. It should also consider how the process of development of national plans is working. The credibility of national action plans is the priority. However they should not be a static instrument. Flagship projects should serve to enrich these action plans and not compete with them.

- In addition a number of detailed suggestions were made regarding the structure of the monitoring report; these will be taken into consideration by the Dakar Follow-up Unit.