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
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
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
- 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