Declaration on Education for All,
International Consultation of NGOs,
Dakar 25 April 2000
years after the World Conference on Education for All, the World
Education Forum in Dakar provides the opportunity to take stock
of the achievements, the lessons and the failures of the past
decade. The most disappointing lesson is that the objectives
from Jomtien have not been achieved. Yet for 125 million children
the right to education is violated every day, leaving them trapped
in poverty. For millions more children, lack of teachers, classrooms,
and/or books means their education is cut short and little is
learnt. Girls account for two-thirds of the children out of
school. One in three adults in the developing world - 880 million
people - is still illiterate.
World Education Forum provides an opportunity to deliver on
the commitment to quality education for all Governments
and international agencies have to make a concerted effort to
mobilise political will and financial resources. The price for
realising Education for All is an additional USD 8 billion a
year. This amount is the equivalent of four days of global military
spending and 9 minutes of international currency speculation.
Nearly 300 NGOs gathered in Dakar on April 24 - 25 to discuss
Education for All believe that Education for All is achievable
if Governments and international agencies commit themselves
to the following:
There is a need to renew the commitment to education
as a right as expressed in UN's declaration on human
rights paragraph 26, The International Covenant on Economic,
Social and Cultural Rights, Article 13 and the Convention
of the Right of the Child, Article 28. ·
must be a commitment to providing free quality basic education
for all children, youth and adults. Equity in quality must
be ensured at all levels. All direct costs of basic education
have to be removed. ·
must be a clear commitment to ensure that quality education
for all includes all the marginalised and excluded groups
like the disabled, ethnic minorities, internally displaced
persons and refugees.
must be a clear statement that education is a core responsibility
of the state. ·
for all depends on the existence of a sound democratic system,
with effective structures and mechanisms, that ensure space
and voice to all stakeholders and benefits to be equitably
the international community and all stakeholders should
commit themselves to establishing and reinforcing democracy,
social justice and peace, as no learning can take place
in times of war or conflict. ·
systems must respect and be based on local culture and respond
to local needs.
and learning for all must be at the centre of the education
process. A concerted effort must be made to draw up quality
indicators that set standards for EFA.
must a be clear commitment to ensure gender equity in education
at all levels. Specific action plans with time bound targets
including those based on affirmative action should be in
place to eliminate all forms of discrimination of girls
literacy must be integrated with a wider process of community
development and empowerment. The right to education starts
from early childhood and continues through adulthood into
old age. Governments must commit themselves to reduce adult
illiteracy by 50% by 2015.
must commit themselves to developing national plans of action
for education by 2002. These plans must be transparently
and democratically negotiated with all significant national
stakeholders and set out how to achieve national education
goals within the broad framework of the 2015 targets and
within government expenditure framework. A central part
of these plans should be the agreement by 2001 of clear
and binding mechanisms for the ongoing democratic participation
of civil society, including teachers, parents and learners,
across all levels of the education system.
national plans of action must be developed within the broader
framework of a global action plan, ensuring that no government
with a credible strategy for achieving education will be
allowed to fail for lack of resources. Donor governments
should finance their contribution to the plan through increased
aid and debt relief. Clear mechanisms for financing, implementing
and monitoring the plan must be established by 2002.
must commit themselves to develop and improve mechanisms
and structures of democratic participation of, and accountability
to civil society, including teachers and their representative
organisations, in education decisions at all levels.
must commit themselves to guaranteeing their part of the
necessary resources for quality basic education, including
increases in proportion of GNP allocated to education. Governments
need to spend at least 6% of GNP on education. Governments
have to secure increases in revenue from progressive taxation,
reduce excessive military and other unproductive expenditure
and put an end to corruption.
should immediately identify and reverse existing disparities
in per capita funding which discriminate against rural communities,
ethnic minorities, people with disabilities and underdeveloped
regions, in order to achieve equitable spending per learner
by 2005. They should further commit themselves to delivering
extra funding to meet needs of schools in poor and marginalised
areas, in order to bring all schools up to agreed standards
by 2015 and to ensure that curricula, teaching materials
and methods are responsive to the needs of marginalised
groups. There must be a commitment to end child labour and
to ratify the ILO Conventions No. 138 and 182.
must develop innovative responses to ensure that learners
in families affected by HIV/AIDS will not lose their access
to education Plans need to be made now to cope with the
loss of teachers and with the new pressure on children.
A close link has to be established between education and
health as education has comparative advantage to support
the prevention of HIV/AIDS in the population.
must ensure that new information technologies can be equitably
accessed to promote quality of education. However, it must
be recognised that indigenous knowledge and traditional
forms of media are equally valuable.
core code of conduct for donors should be agreed within
the framework of UN in partnership with civil society by
2002 to bind donors to following good practice in the relationship
with partners and in disbursement of aid to education. Governments
should have single accountability lines. The monitoring
and control of aid programmes should be turned over to government
in partnership with civil society.
changes to aid and international commitments must not be
contradicted or undermined by wider institutional policies
of international financial institutions. Policy advice and
financial support from IMF, World Bank or regional development
banks must be designed with education as an integral part
of poverty reduction and human development.
must ensure that all governments that are serious about
education have access to the necessary resources to achieve
basic education for all. A key step toward this must be
to increase aid to basic education to at least 8% of total
should commit to increased and rapid debt relief, improving
progress of the Heavily Indebted Poor Country initiative
(HIPC2). Debt relief should add to aid flows and not undermine
them, and be linked to national education plans in the context
of wider poverty reduction plans.
strong representation of southern governments and civil
society has to be ensured in international EFA structures
set up after the World Education Forum in Dakar. Resources,
technical expertise and monitoring of progress must be decentralised
with major investment in a regional level EFA capacity.
These structures have to be effective, accountable and transparent.
civil society alliances should have the right to call for
the international EFA structures to investigate cases where
there are clear violations of the right to education. The
EFA structures should have the power to call an investigation
by the UN Special Rapporteur on Education or the regional
Human Rights Commissions.
comprehensive review should be planned for 2006 to identify
progress against the major international targets of education.
Both national and donor action plans should specify mid-term
targets for each EFA goal, and specify explicit additional
resourcing and contingency commitments if these targets
are missed. If the mid-term review shows that a substantial
number of countries continue to be off-track then an official
UN Conference on Education with Heads of State should be
convened for 2010.
the NGOs gathered in Dakar from all over the world are committed
to work and co-operate with governments and a wide range of
groups, individuals and institutions to reach our goal of quality
education for all. WE want action now!