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The EFA 2000 Assessment > What is this ? > General guidelines
 What is it?
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General guidelines
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  Flash 01/09/1998
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  GENERAL GUIDELINES
   
 

 A. Background

The Framework for Action to Meet Basic Learning Needs adopted by the World Conference on Education for All: Meeting Basic Learning Needs (Jomtien, Thailand, March 1990) foresaw the need for an end-of-decade assessment of progress as a basis for a comprehensive review of policies concerning basic education. The International Consultative Forum on Education for All (EFA Forum), the global mechanism established to follow up the Jomtien Conference, is the designated focal point for the EFA 2000 Assessment.

These General Guidelines have been prepared by the EFA Forum Secretariat, based at UNESCO Headquarters, to assist Governments in planning their own national assessment of Education for All (EFA). The procedures outlined here may need to be adapted to fit the particular situation of each country. However, Governments are strongly encouraged to set up as soon as possible a national assessment group with a technical sub-group (see section D).

   
   B. Purpose

The EFA 2000 Assessment is a major, global endeavour that aims to enable the participating countries (i) to construct a comprehensive picture of their progress towards their own Education for All goals since the 1990 Jomtien Conference, (ii) to identify priorities and promising strategies for overcoming obstacles and accelerating progress, and (iii) to revise their national plans of action accordingly. The results should be useful for policy-makers, planners and managers both within and outside government. The Assessment process will also provide an opportunity to refocus attention on basic education and reinvigorate efforts to meet basic learning needs.

   
 

 C. Scope - what needs to be reviewed?

Education for All (EFA) refers to the provision of basic education in the sense of the "expanded vision" proclaimed in the World Declaration on Education for All adopted at Jomtien. Consequently, the Assessment should cover public and private programmes, activities and services, both in school and out-of-school, that aim to meet the basic learning needs of children, youth and adults. The Assessment should seek to cover the six "target dimensions" of EFA set forth in the Jomtien Framework for Action to Meet Basic Learning Needs (see box on next page), giving particular attention to important changes since 1990 and any continuing disparities in the provision of basic education. It should also examine (i) the principal steps taken in the country since the 1990 Jomtien Conference in line with the Framework for Action to Meet Basic Learning Needs; (ii) the implementation of EFA strategies and plans; (iii) the mobilization and use of financial and other resources for EFA; and (iv) the results obtained.

Excerpt from paragraph 8 of the Jomtien Framework for Action to Meet Basic Learning Needs

Countries may wish to set their own targets for the 1990s in terms of the following proposed dimensions:

1. Expansion of early childhood care and developmental activities, including family and community interventions, especially for poor, disadvantaged and disabled children;

2. Universal access to, and completion of, primary education (or whatever higher level of education is considered as "basic" by the year 2000;

3. Improvement in learning achievement such that an agreed percentage of an appropriate age cohort (e.g. 80 per cent of 14 year-olds) attains or surpasses a defined level of necessary learning achievement;

4. Reduction of the adult illiteracy rate (the appropriate age group to be determined in each country) to, say, one-half its 1990 level by the year 2000, with sufficient emphasis on female literacy to significantly reduce the current disparity between male and female illiteracy rates;

5. Expansion of provision of basic education and training in other essential skills required by youth and adults, with programme effectiveness assessed in terms of behavioural changes and impacts on health, employment and productivity;

6. Increased acquisition by individuals and families of the knowledge, skills and values required for better living and sound and sustainable development made available through all education channels including the mass media, other forms of modern and traditional communication, and social action, with effectiveness assessed in terms of behavioural change.

   
     D. National EFA Assessments

Who should participate? In accord with the Jomtien principle of partnerships, it is important that the Assessment involve the principal "actors" in EFA. While the Ministry of Education is usually the primary provider of basic education, other government services as well as local authorities, the media, and voluntary and private organizations concerned with basic education should participate in the Assessment. Their involvement is necessary and useful: (i) to obtain a comprehensive picture of EFA, (ii) to collect, analyze and interpret information from varied perspectives, and (iii) to mobilize partners and to plan further work to achieve EFA goals. Governments should consider also inviting the local offices of the principal sponsors of the Jomtien Conference (UNDP, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNICEF, World Bank) and other multilateral and bilateral cooperation agencies that support EFA activities to participate in the Assessment.

Who should manage the Assessment? Drawing from experience in carrying out the Mid-decade Review of EFA (1995-96), it is strongly recommended that each country establish an ad hoc EFA assessment group (committee, task force, team) and designate a national assessment coordinator -- preferably a senior level person released to work full-time, with staff support, to be responsible for (i) organizing the group's work, (ii) liaison with the EFA Forum, and (iii) preparing the country's EFA assessment report. The assessment group's members should be selected on a pragmatic basis, with representatives of the several government departments involved directly or indirectly in the provision of basic education (e.g. ministries of education, social affairs, local government, labour, agriculture, health, information and broadcasting, finance, development planning, etc.), as well as representatives of the interested actors outside government (e.g. parliamentarians, religious organizations, community associations, NGOs, newspaper groups, radio broadcasting companies, trade unions, employers' groups, etc.) Governments that have an existing national EFA coordinating body will probably assign it an important advisory role in the Assessment.

How should the Assessment be carried out? In planning the Assessment process, four considerations need be taken into account: (i) how to make best use of existing information and to obtain any additional information needed; (ii) how to involve the principal EFA "actors" in the Assessment; (iii) how to make use of the Assessment process to update strategies and plans for expanding and improving basic education; and (iv) how to use the Assessment findings to build public and policitical support for Education for All. Various actors may be constructively involved in the Assessment through, for example, committee work, interviews, commissioned reports and studies, position papers, questionnaires, etc. Since the collection and analysis of data and other information are essential for the Assessment exercise, the EFA Assessment Group should immediately appoint a technical sub-group composed of a mix of planners, school inspectors, statisticians and researchers, to supervise and carry out this important function. Where possible, some of this work could be entrusted to a competent research institute or university.

 
 
     E. Reporting

Reporting the results of the national Assessment can be useful in building public awareness and in shaping public policy. A "reporting strategy" should be seen as an important part of the Assessment. Several versions of the Assessment report may be envisaged, e.g. a full technical report with detailed data analyses for planners and senior administrators; a narrative report stressing policy implications for the Cabinet, the Council of Ministers, the Parliament, the National Education Council, etc; and a summary version using non-technical language for the press, local school committees, and the interested public.

In addition, Governments are requested to report their principal findings to the Secretariat of the International Consultative Forum on Education for All, which will analyze all the country reports with a view to establishing a global picture of progress toward Education for All and drawing conclusions for consideration by the international community. The existing channels for reporting education statistics to UNESCO will be used also for the Assessment.

   
 

 F. The Global Assessment Process - See the flow chart in Annex 1.

All countries are invited to participate in the EFA 2000 Assessment and take charge of their own national EFA assessment in line with the following calendar:

* June-July 1998: Countries establish their EFA Assessment Group and a Technical Sub-group, appoint a National Assessment Coordinator, and inform the EFA Forum Secretariat.

* July-August 1998: The EFA Forum Secretariat provides each national EFA assessment group with a set of Technical Guidelines for the collection and analysis of pertinent data and other information. Countries may call on the local offices of the Forum's five Convenors (UNDP, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNICEF, World Bank), as well as several other development agencies that support EFA, to work with them in planning and carrying out the national EFA assessments.

* July-November 1998: Phase One of assessment work, commissioning studies, surveys and data collection, and undertaking preliminary analyses.

* December 1998: National EFA assessment groups prepare a preliminary draft of their national EFA assessment report, based on existing data, for discussion in-country and at sub-regional workshops.

* January-March 1999: The EFA Forum Secretariat organizes a series of sub-regional workshops to enable representatives of the EFA assessment groups in neighbouring countries to share experiences and consult together concerning data issues and the specifications for reporting and presenting the assessment results.

* April-August 1999: Phase Two of the assessment work, integrating new data and information resulting from Phase One activities, and completing analysis of EFA situation and prospects.

* September 1999: National EFA assessment reports to be submitted to the EFA Forum, which will consult with appropriate regional bodies to analyze the country reports and prepare regional issues papers that outline the main accomplishments, shortfalls, difficulties encountered, strategies adopted by countries, and the principal challenges that must be met to provide basic education for all children, youth and adults.

* September-December 1999: Countries report EFA statistics on the annual UNESCO questionnaire.

* November-December 1999: The EFA Forum convenes regional policy review seminars to examine the issues papers. These seminars will enable country representatives to consider together the policy implications of the national EFA assessments in their region, as well as possible areas for cooperation.

* January-February 2000: The conclusions of the seminars will be synthesized by the EFA Forum in preparing a global report on progress towards achieving Education for All and on the general lines of action foreseen by countries and the proposed areas for cooperation.

* March-April 2000: This synthesis report will be discussed at the fourth global meeting of the International Consultative Forum on Education for All. Acting as a microcosm of the international community, the Forum will present its conclusions and recommendations to the several constituencies that were represented at the Jomtien Conference (Governments, multilateral organizations, donor agencies, and NGOs) who may use them in determining priorities for action at national level and for global, regional and bilateral cooperation. Furthermore, the Forum's recommendations will be communicated to several major conferences scheduled in 2000 that will deal with major development issues.

   
 

  G. First steps at country level - to be taken by July 1998

  • Establish an EFA Assessment Group

  • Appoint a National Assessment Coordinator

  • Appoint a Technical Sub-Group

  • Communicate the National Assessment Coordinator's name, title, postal and e-mail address, telephone and fax numbers to the EFA Forum Secretariat (address below).

Further communications concerning the Assessment will be addressed to the designated National Assessment Coordinators.

   
 

  H. For information about the Assessment

EFA Forum Secretariat
UNESCO
7, Place de Fontenoy
75352 Paris 07 SP
France
e-mail: efa@unesco.org
fax: 33-1-45685629

 
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