HIGH LEVEL GROUP URGES COUNTRIES
EDUCATION FOR ALL A TOP PRIORITY
Abuja, November 20 -
The High Level Group on Education For All, meeting here for
the past two days, has expressed its alarm that only 83 countries,
on present trends, have achieved or have a high chance of
achieving by 2015 the goals of universal primary education,
gender parity in education and the halving their illiteracy
In a communiqué issued
at the close of the meeting, the High Level Group, comprising
24 members, including government ministers, representatives
of donor organizations, UN agencies and non-governmental organizations,
also highlighted its concern over the reported decline in
aid for education during the 1990s. Despite recent commitments
from some countries, it says, existing evidence suggests a
serious gap in international support to achieve Education
for All (EFA) goals even after countries undertake maximum
efforts to improve domestic resource mobilization and efficiency."
These findings were reported
in the recently released 2002 Education for All Global Monitoring
Report: Is the World on Track?, written by an independent
international team, with UNESCO's support, and which formed
the basis of the High Level Group's discussions.
The communiqué urged
the international community to accelerate progress to deliver
on commitments made at the World Education Forum (Dakar, Senegal,
2000), and to ensure that no country was left at risk through
lack of resources.
Countries themselves also need
to increase their efforts, said the communiqué, stressing
the importance of good planning, set in the economic context
of countries, and taking into account such challenges as the
HIV/AIDS pandemic and conflict. Another priority is action
to eliminate gender disparity at primary and secondary school
The communiqué pointed
to the importance of increasing the involvement of civil society
in the planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation
of EFA efforts, and building up of professionals skills required
for these tasks.
Improving data on education
is another vital area of concern to the High Level Group.
Effective planning, financing and policy development for education
depend greatly on the availability of reliable data. The communiqué
signals the need for more accurate and timely qualitative
and quantitative data and encourages EFA partners to intensify
their support for capacity building efforts in this area.
Nonetheless, the High Level
Group acknowledged that "important advances" have
been made and looked forward to a marked improvement in the
situation when its members meet for their third meeting scheduled
next year in India.
"This second meeting has
proved particularly fruitful," said UNESCO Director-General
Koichiro Matsuura. "We have been more focused and more
purposeful, and I feel sure that we have helped put Education
for All back on track."
Contact Sue Williams
Bureau of Public Information, Editorial Section
Tel: (+33) (0) 45 68 17 06,
The 2002 Education for All
Global Monitoring Report: Is the World on Track? is available
online in pdf format at www.unesco.org/education