EFA Monitoring>
Education for All (EFA) Observatory
ACTIVITIES

FROM JOMTIEN TO DAKAR

In March 1990, the international community put education on the global agenda during the World Conference on Education for All (Jomtien, Thailand) when Governments set themselves the challenge of achieving universal primary education by the year 2000. Ten years later, the international community came together again at the World Education Forum (Dakar, Senegal), to examine the results of the decade in the most in-depth evaluation of basic education ever undertaken on a global scale. The EFA 200 Assessment took stock of the status of education in some 180 countries and evaluated the progress that had been achieved during the 1990s. Its purpose was to generate vital information on all types of programmes, activities and services that aim to meet the basic learning needs of children, youth and adults.

The EFA assessment pinpointed the shortcoming in many countries which still exist today in achieving the goal of universal primary education. During the Forum, Governments reiterated their commitment to ensure that universal access to quality basic education is achieved and sustained by 2015. UNESCO was mandated to take the lead role in orchestrating global efforts to achieve EFA by 2015.

THE VITAL ROLE OF STATISTICS IN EFA MONITORING

The EFA Year 2000 Assessment was instrumental in drawing attention to the vital role of statistics in EFA monitoring and education policy making and to the fact that data were not always available or in formats to be of use to policy-makers. Even when they were available, governments did not always take them into consideration in their educational decision-making.

Regular monitoring of the state of education in the world will be an essential part of the follow-up to Dakar. For this reason, the UIS has created the EFA Observatory within the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, in order to monitor and report on progress achieved in education on a national, regional and global level.

"Regular assessment must be focused on helping governments develop, review and amend national policies as necessary to ensure that EFA goals are achieved in all countries and as soon as possible," says Denise Lievesley, Director of the UIS.

ROLE OF THE EFA OBSERVATORY

In its capacity as the EFA Observatory the UIS will give priority to: consulting data providers and users in countries and regions to find out their needs in the light of EFA action plans;

integrating EFA monitoring data into the regular statistical surveys; developing new indicators and methodologies and improving existing ones; assisting countries to improve their capacities for data collection and analysis through training and other support. promoting awareness, analysis and use of data at the national level to inform policy debates; encouraging countries to develop adequate monitoring and early warning systems of their own based on their own national data; conducting surveys and case studies, and seeking partnerships with other organizations to bring in a richer range of information; issuing progress reports on advances towards the Education For All targets in print and electronic form.

REVIEWING THE EFA INDICATORS

One of the first tasks of the Observatory will be to develop a framework of pertinent indicators to examine progress towards the objectives of Education for All. New indicators will be developed to complement and extend the original set of 18 core indicators used for the 2000 Assessment. This is in order to make it possible to tackle more precisely questions that were not addressed adequately in the 2000 Assessment.

As part of this review, widespread consultations will take place with principal actors and partners, and especially the data providers and users. This process has already begun with Member States during a series of regional workshops conducted in June and July 2000, and will continue during the next round of workshops being held during the first half of 2001. Statistical experts are being asked to discuss questions such as: Are these indicators appropriate for monitoring the new Dakar targets? Are there any new indicators or better indicators which could be used? What solutions could you suggest to overcome problems reporting these indicators?

The UIS focal point for the EFA Observatory is: Simon Ellis