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The regional meetings > Nine high-population countries (E9)

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Ministerial review meeting
of the nine high-population countries (E-9)
    Press release on the meeting
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    31 January - 2 February 2000 in Recife, Brazil
    Ministers of Education of the nine high-population countries (the E-9) met in Recife, Brazil in February 2000 to critically assess the situation of basic education. The challenge of achieving education for all is particularly daunting in these large developing countries (Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria and Pakistan), which represent half of the worlds population, and most of the adult illiterates.
    Building on the outcomes of the EFA 2000 Assessment, the Ministers analysed the situation and chart a Framework for Action. The new data provided governments and also civil society with the necessary background for improved planning and efficient implementation.
    The E-9 initiative was launched at the EFA Summit (December 1993, New-Delhi, India), and since then the Ministers of Education of these nine countries have met three times to review achievements in basic education and define possible joint programmes. The education of girls and women has been at the top of the E-9 agenda, as well as teacher training and literacy. These three areas of basic education are strategically considered the most important for reducing population growth and enhancing development perspectives. The E-9 countries, in addition to intensifying national action in the aforementioned fields, have also continued by way of seminars and publications to share their experiences on matters such as distance education and in-service teacher training.

Serious gaps and shortcomings

    The nine Ministers of Education, when in Recife, acknowledged progress but also the reality of serious gaps and shortcomings, which need urgent attention from policy makers. A major element of the Assessment was to obtain data on access of girls and women to education, and the E-9 will pay special attention to this group of people, it being understood that the education of girls and women has a direct bearing on social development and population growth. Though all E-9 countries report decreasing population growth rates, some countries are still beset by relatively high rates which are in slow decline, precisely those countries where ineffective pro-gender policies have been in operation. Therefore in Recife, experts and ministers will jointly look not only at EFA data but also at population issues, being aware that major development issues will not find long-term solutions without serious policies addressing both the need to achieve EFA and to decrease population growth.
    In Recife, the E-9 organized a round-table on "women as educators, and women's education". The topic has been prepared by way of nine recent national studies looking at the situation of women in the cultural, social and educational context. Data produced by the EFA 200 Assessment provided further inputs to highlight the crucial importance and complexity of the issue.
    An important issue during the conference was the E-9 synthesis report prepared jointly by UNESCO and Brazil. The nine national reports are extremely complex and overflowing with new and exciting data and information. The synthesis put problems and issues into perspective, with the focus on past achievements and new objectives. Finally, after having presented their case at the World Education Forum, the E-9 discussed how a better sharing of experiences could be achieved and what policies would have to be developed to achieve the EFA objective.
    Participants attending the meeting in Recife include the nine Ministers of Education, senior officers and experts from the nine countries. In addition participants will attend from UNESCO, UNDP, UNICEF, UNFPA and the World Bank along with national and international NGOs and the media. A special effort was made to bring journalists from the E-9 countries to Recife.
    For more information, please contact :
Wolfgang Vollmann, UNESCO
7, Place de Fontenoy
75352 Paris 07SP, France
Tel: (33) 1 4568 2129
Fax: (33) 1 4568 5629
    For more information on the E-9 initiative
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