Education News


Technical Meeting on
Partnering the UN Girls’ Education Initiative to
Intensify Progress towards Gender Equality in Education

21-23 January, 2002

Background

UNICEF was mandated by the Secretary General of the UN at Dakar in April 2000 to lead the UN thrust in support of girls’ education through the UN Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI). The 10-year Initiative aims to mount a sustained campaign to improve the quality and availability of girls’ education in the 61 countries in which girls’ net enrolment ratio (NER) falls below 85% (see Annex 1). The Initiative works through existing mechanisms and instruments to encourage and facilitate strategic action on girls’ education, especially at the country level. The Initiative emphasises commonality of approach to girls’ education, particularly within the UN system, and proposes five strategic objectives as guidelines of effective intervention (see Annex 2).

To offer a forum for inter-organisational dialogue around the UNGEI, UNICEF is organising a meeting of UN, bilateral, and selected NGO representatives. The meeting will be hosted by UNESCO and partially supported by DfID. This document offers the rationale, purpose, expected outputs, and structure of the January consultation.

Rationale

Attaining gender parity in primary and secondary education by 2005 (a target shared by the Millennium Development Goals and the Dakar Framework for Action) will be extremely challenging for many countries. The UNGEI offers opportunities to accelerate progress towards this goal. To exploit these opportunities it is important that the full range of partners identify the ways in which engagement with the Initiative can add real value to progress toward gender parity by 2005, and gender equality and EFA by 2015. The consultation will offer an opportunity to take stock of gender inequality in education, with a particular emphasis on the potential contribution of the UNGEI to the attainment of the 2005 and 2015 gender in education goals.

Purpose

To provide an opportunity for all partners to:

  • Take stock of progress toward the 2005 gender parity goal;
  • On the basis of this stocktaking exercise, identify ways in which development and other organisations can contribute to accelerate progress towards gender equality in education;
  • Determine how agencies and other organisations and the UN Girls’ Education Initiative can work together at international and country levels to assist countries to meet the gender in education goals to which they have committed;
  • Better understand the fit between UNGEI and agencies’ and other organisations’ ways of working with regard to action on girls’ education at the country level; and
  • Contribute to shaping the strategic direction and activities of the Initiative.

Outcomes

As a result of the consultation, the following will result:

  • Progress towards the 2005 gender parity goal analysed and assessed
  • Identification of ways in which better collaboration among partners can facilitate countries reaching the 2005 target; and
  • Suggestions for how the UN Girls’ Education Initiative might more strategically engage with other partners, at the country, regional, and global levels.

Location and logistics

The meeting will be held at:

UNESCO Main Building
7, place de Fontenoy 75700 Paris 07
Room VII, Basement
Fontenoy Building

Participants are responsible for their own expenses and hotel reservations. A list of hotels is included for your possible use.

French/English interpretation will be available.

Annex 1 - List of 61 countries with NER below 85%

Version 21/12/01

Countries with NER of girls 85% or less

Net primary education ratio

Number out of school

total countries: 56/61

Year

Girls

Boys

gender

gap

OOS girls

OOS total

Afghanistan

1993

15

42

27

1,386

2,393

Angola*

1996

48

52

4

416

800

Bangladesh

1998

83

80

-3

1,464

3,278

Belarus

1994

84

87

3

40

75

Benin

1997

50

75

25

278

413

Bhutan

1998

47

58

11

103

188

Burkina Faso

1997

28

40

12

732

1,348

Burundi

1998

37

38

1

363

725

Cambodia

1998

74

82

8

282

479

Cameroon

1989

71

82

11

360

373

Central African Republic

1997

27

51

24

223

351

Chad

1997

39

65

26

411

645

Comoros

1999

55

65

10

25

44

Congo, Dem. Rep. Of

1997

51

66

15

2,252

3,815

Cote d'Ivoire

1996

47

63

16

686

1,168

Djibouti

1997

28

39

11

37

70

Dominican Republic

1997

85

84

-1

109

235

El Salvador

1995

78

78

-1

134

276

Eritrea

1998

35

40

5

163

315

Ethiopia

1997

28

43

15

3,708

6,607

Gabon

1998

83

82

0

16

32

Gambia

1998

55

64

9

43

77

Ghana*

1998

74

74

0

395

791

Guatemala

1998

75

81

6

233

417

Guinea

1997

30

49

19

441

776

Guinea-Bissau

1987

32

58

26

63

102

Guyana

1997

84

89

5

7

12

Haiti

1997

66

66

0

214

435

India

1997

64

78

14

19,542

32,504

Kuwait

1997

85

89

4

11

20

Lao People's Dem. Rep

1997

72

80

8

100

174

Lesotho

1997

65

55

-10

63

144

Liberia

1999

31

43

12

137

266

Madagascar

1997

69

67

-2

345

716

Mali

1997

33

47

14

618

1,107

Mauritania

1995

53

61

8

102

187

Morocco

1998

64

77

13

720

1,204

Mozambique

1999

40

47

7

875

1,636

Myanmar*

2000

69

68

-1

835

1,700

Nepal

1997

60

79

19

593

932

Nicaragua

1995

79

76

-3

84

178

Niger

1996

19

30

11

737

1,407

Nigeria

1996

33

38

5

6,398

12,484

Pakistan

1997

60

84

24

3,784

5,392

Papua New Guinea

1989

67

79

12

114

195

Rwanda

1997

68

67

-1

230

469

Saint Vincent and Grenadines

1998

78

90

12

Saudi Arabia

1999

73

81

8

451

810

Senegal

1997

55

65

10

346

620

Sierra Leone*

2000

40

42

2

253

491

Somalia

1985

7

13

6

893

1,734

Sudan

1998

37

43

6

1,916

3,715

Tanzania

1998

57

56

-1

1,439

2,939

Thailand

1998

79

82

3

667

1,277

Togo

1997

61

85

24

148

206

Turkey

1998

82

93

11

593

853

Turkmenistan*

1995

80

80

0

47

94

Uganda

1997

83

92

9

408

611

Vanuatu

1989

72

76

4

5

9

Venezuela

1996

85

83

-2

358

780

Yemen

1995

39

79

40

1,368

1,871

*Instead of Net primary enrolment ratio the net primary attendance ratio has been indicated

Regional summaries (from 1995 to 1999 data)

Out of school

girls

total

Sub-Saharan Africa

57.6

49.7

8

27,031

50,003

Middle East and North Africa

84.9

75.8

9

6,009

9,711

South Asia

78.7

65.6

13

26,332

43,397

East Asia and Pacific

97.4

96.0

1

3,459

5,995

Latin America and Caribbean

91.2

91.4

0

3,167

5,937

CEE/CIS and Baltic States

93.1

89.6

4

1,590

2,690

Industrialized countries

95.4

95.8

0

1,239

2,547

Developing countries

83.4

76.3

7

67,718

112,926

Least developed countries

64.3

55.2

9

23,840

43,277

World

84.7

78.4

6

70,072

118,016

 

United Nations Girls' Education Initiative
~ Five Strategic Objectives ~

Strategic objective 1: Led by the Secretary General, the UN will help to build "compacts" that consist of political and resource commitments at the highest levels on a country by country basis to end gender inequality in education.

Strategic objective 2: In the 52 countries with a gender gap of 5% or more at primary level (in 47 of which girls are disadvantaged) a plan of action to end the gender gap, with measurable indicators, will be in place by 2001, and there will be demonstrable progress toward closing the gap by 2005.

Strategic objective 3: In all countries, a plan of action will be in place by 2002 at the latest and operational by 2005 ensuring gender equality and sensitivity in all aspects of education. This includes enrolment policies and practices, curriculum, teacher behaviour and attitudes, equity in the teaching force, learning environments, pupils’ safety, access to information and skills that enable girls to make positive life choices in areas such as, reproductive health and HIV/AIDS prevention, and access to use of new technologies.

Strategic objective 4: Countries affected by, or recovering from, armed conflict or natural disaster or external shock will put in place short-term (by 2000-2001) and medium-term (by 2005) measurable actions that guarantee access to and completion of quality education for girls and boys.

Strategic objective 5: All countries, especially those reporting gender parity and NERs of 90% or more, are encouraged to sustain or improve that level of equality in education and should eliminate all discrimination against girls, as established through the international norms and standards of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and on Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women.