News bulletin board of UNESCO's Education Sector
No. 20
Welcome to the electronic news bulletin board of UNESCO's Education Sector, informing you about UNESCO's activities in the field of education and in particular the follow-up to the World Education Forum in Dakar (April 2000). Please forward it to other interested colleagues.

Contents (2 April 2001)

---> John Daniel takes up new post as UNESCO's Assistant Director-General for Education
---> Message from UNESCO to participants of the Global Action Week on EFA
---> Global initiative on education on the move
---> UNESCO embarks on major mapping exercise on EFA
---> International Conference on Education (Geneva, 5-8 September 2001)
---> Joint initiative to implement effective school health programmes in Africa
---> Experts exchange views on HIV/AIDS in West Africa
---> Newsflash on the nine high population countries (E9)
---> Countries in action (Senegal, Côte d'Ivoire and Sierra Leone)
---> Dakar on the agenda

Attachments to this issue:
---> Message from UNESCO to participants of the Global Action Week on EFA
---> Newsflash on the nine high-population countries (E9)


John Daniel takes up new post as UNESCO's Assistant Director-General for Education

John Daniel today starts in his new job as chief for UNESCO's Education Sector. As Assistant Director-General for Education, he will continue the reform process of the Sector and will reinforce UNESCO's co-ordinating role in orchestrating the follow-up to the World Education Forum (Dakar, April 2000).

Mr Daniel, a pioneer as well as a leading personality in open learning and distance education, was the Vice-Chancellor of the United Kingdom Open University since 1990. Under his stewardship the Open University almost doubled in size and is now the United Kingdom’s largest educational and training organization with over 250,000 students throughout the world. He also served as President of the United States Open University since its establishment in 1998 and holds some fifteen Honorary Doctorate Degrees from universities in ten countries. In 1994 he was knighted by H. M. Queen Elizabeth II for services to higher education.

Message from UNESCO to participants of the Global Action Week on EFA

UNESCO has sent a message of support to participants of the second Global Action Week on Promoting Education for All which starts today. In the message UNESCO welcomes the focus of the Week, which targets EFA efforts at the country level: "This is especially appropriate since those of you who work at the national level witness each day the consequences of poverty and exclusion from education".

"UNESCO will do everything in its power to convince governments of the absolute need to involve civil society in the formulation of their national plans," UNESCO says, adding that "the synergy between local and global efforts will needs to be strengthened in order to move effectively towards EFA".

Please find the message attached to this Bulletin Board.

The Global Action Week, 2-8 April, is initiated by the Global Campaign for Education, a coalition of non-governmental organizations active in education. Demonstrations, symposiums, petitions and press conferences are just some of the many activities to take place around the world. For more information:

Global initiative on Education for All on the move

Following its recent consultations with multilateral and bilateral agencies and with the NGO community (28 February - 2 March), UNESCO continues to share the common views developed on the contents and procedures for the global initiative aimed at designing strategies and mobilizing resources in support of national Education for All efforts, as stated in article 11 of the Dakar Framework for Action.

The global initiative received comments from the academic community, first at a meeting of financial experts organized by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics on 12 March and then at a joint UNESCO/UNICEF/World Bank panel at the international conference of the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) held in Washington D.C. 14-17 March. The initiative will also be discussed at the South Asia Ministerial meeting on EFA (Kathmandu, Nepal, 10-12 April) and at a meeting on Nordic countries and the Dakar follow-up process (Elsinore, Denmark, 3-5 May). It will also be referred to in the up-coming Steering Committee meeting of the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) in Antananarivo, Madagascar, 3-5 May.

Based on these and other consultations, UNESCO's discussion paper "Development Partner Cooperation in Support of Education for All: Rationale and Strategies", will be revised.
The revised document is expected to become an important instrument to express consolidated views and procedures concerning support to national EFA efforts to be used at high-level policy meetings, such as the forthcoming G8 meeting in Genoa, Italy, in July, and in cross-ministerial meetings internationally, regionally and nationally. The document could also be helpful as a measure against which national development policies and practices concerning Education for All can be assessed.

Contact: Lene Buchert, UNESCO (

UNESCO embarks on major mapping exercise on EFA

UNESCO has launched a major mapping exercise to take stock of the state of the preparation of national EFA Plans of Action and to appraise countries’ needs for support in this context. Last week, a preliminary version of a seven-page questionnaire was sent to UNESCO principal regional offices. It will be tested in a few sample countries in each region and a final version will be available by the end of April.

The questionnaire was drawn up by the Division for Education Policies and Strategies of UNESCO's Education Sector, in collaboration with the Dakar Follow-up Unit and UNESCO's Institute for Statistics.

The finalized questionnaire will be made available in a forthcoming issue of the Bulletin Board.

Contact: Mohammed Radi ( or Maité Deniau ( of UNESCO's Division of Education Policies and Strategies.

International Conference on Education (Geneva, 5-8 September 2001)

The International Conference on Education (ICE) will hold its forty-sixth session in Geneva from 5-8 September 2001 on the theme "Education for all for learning to live together: contents and learning strategies - problems and solutions".

The main objectives of the conference will be to examine and discuss aspects connected with the quality of education for all and to launch a new phase of international dialogue on the contents, methods and structures of teaching.

UNESCO Member States have been asked to prepare national reports on the development of their entire education system which will be distributed to all delegations attending the Conference. The national reports represent an extremely valuable source of information for UNESCO and IBE in particular on education systems and are a complement to the EFA 2000 Assessment undertaken prior to the World Education Forum last year. Finally, the reports will be exploited during the preparation of the ICE in order to identify ‘good practices’.

For more information visit the new ICE website on where background documents of the Conference, the programme, and the working methods, as well as information on parallel events and practical issues are available. A Netforum has been opened for your comments and suggestions.

Contact: The ICE Secretariat (

For more information on the national reports contact Massimo Amadio (

Joint initiative to implement effective school health programmes in Africa

Within the inter-agency initiative FRESH (Focusing Resources for Effective School Health), a new initiative has been launched in Africa to foster collaboration and concerted action between teachers' unions and relevant ministries on the prevention of HIV and HIV-related discrimination, and the improvement of school health programmes.

The World Health Organization (WHO), Education International (EI) and the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have decided to spearhead the initiative to enhance and extend school health and HIV/AIDS prevention efforts in collaboration with ministries of education and health and other relevant agencies, notably in countries in southern Africa. Within this initiative, WHO and EI, in collaboration with UNESCO, UNICEF and the World Bank, recently convened an inter-country workshop for teachers' union leaders and representatives from ministries of education and health ( Botswana, February 2001). EI, WHO and FNV (Dutch Trade Union Centre) are now providing financial and technical support for a period of at least two years to teacher's unions in Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Senegal, Swaziland and Zambia to implement the projects developed at the workshop.

The objectives of the projects are to enable teachers: 1) to help adults to avoid HIV infection, 2) to advocate for the implementation of effective HIV prevention programmes in unions, schools and communities, 3) to implement interactive learning experiences to help young people acquire the skills needed to avoid HIV infection, and 4) to focus resources on implementing the four components of an effective school health programme (school health policies, skills-based health education, safe water and sanitation and school health services).

Contact: Jack Jones, WHO ( and Monique Fouilhoux, Education International (

Senior experts exchange views on HIV/AIDS in West Africa

A Senior Experts Conference on HIV/AIDS and Education in West Africa, organized from 18-23 March in Elmina, Ghana, was the first high-level regional meeting devoted to education and HIV/AIDS in this region. Thanks to important contributions made by key experts coming from East and South Africa, the some 130 participants left the conference with a vision of the scale of the threat they face, of the true impacts of HIV/AIDS, as well as of the complexity and dimension of the response needed to counter-attack the epidemic.

The conference adopted a draft document, entitled "Recommendations of the Elmina Conference on HIV/AIDS and Education: A Call for Action". While recognizing that the ultimate responsibility for HIV/AIDS prevention and education is national, the document suggests, inter alia, the creation of regional frameworks for co-operation, in order to share data, best practices, etc. It also proposes the expansion of an expert network, a regional forum for advocacy and a lobby for regional and national needs and concerns. The recommendations are currently being finalized and will be made available in a forthcoming issue of the Bulletin Board.

Contact: Marie Paule Roudil, UNESCO (mp.roudil or Anna-Maria Barthes-Hoffman (

Newsflash on the nine high population countries (E9)

Please find attached to this Bulletin Board a newsflash on recent EFA activities in the nine high-population countries (E9).

Contact: Wolfgang Vollmann, E9 co-ordinator, UNESCO (

Countries in action (Senegal, Côte d'Ivoire and Sierra Leone)

Senegal: National EFA plan of action in its final phase Senegal, the host country of the World Education Forum last year, plans to have its national EFA plan of action ready for the first anniversary of the Forum. The Planning and Reform of Education Directorate of the Ministry of Education is in the process of preparing the national EFA plan guided in part by five thematic studies compiled by national experts.

Civil society groups, non-governmental organizations and teachers' unions are expected to discussed the draft plan at a meeting in mid-April at UNESCO Dakar. A national validation workshop is tentatively set for 20-21 April and will involve relevant stakeholder groups as well as bilateral and multilateral agencies.

Côte d'Ivoire: Major national sensitization campaign on EFA to take place in May

Côte d'Ivoire is the process of signing a Memorandum of Understanding that brings together the EFA partners, namely UNESCO, UNDP, UNICEF, UNFPA and the World Bank in support of the preparation of a national EFA plan of action.

During the first week of May, several days will be dedicated to EFA promotion and awareness-raising. The Ministry of Education together with other relevant ministries, non-governmental organizations, representatives of civil society, etc. will be brought together to deliberate on specific themes and issues relevant to the EFA objectives. Following this sensitization, technical workshops and working groups will be convened for the preparation of the actual plan of action.

Sierra Leone: Forging ahead despite ravages of conflict

It is under challenging circumstances that Sierra Leone is making efforts to prepare a national EFA plan of action. Many parts of the countryside are still inaccessible and a large proportion of the population is internally or externally displaced. In safe areas, school populations and class sizes are increasing at an alarming rate and educational institutions in these zones are overcrowded. Sadly, resources to education continue to be limited.

To cope with this situation, a feasibility study is being planned with UNESCO Dakar to outline key areas that need to be addressed as part of the reconstruction and development process. These will deal with issues of access, equity, quality, relevance and cost, and will focus on key areas in basic education, such as early childhood care and education, basic education, skills development, accelerated/rapid education for over-age children, provision for amputees and highly traumatized children, etc.

Dakar on the agenda

G8 Education Ministers - The Education Ministers of some of the world's richest countries (G8) are currently meeting in Tokyo and Okinawa (1-3 April). At the last G8 Summit (July 2000), a final communiqué reaffirmed the commitment of these countries to vigorously follow up the conclusions of the World Education Forum by ensuring that additional resources are made available for basic education.
For more information:

Open learning and distance education --- The Twentieth ICDE World Conference on Open Learning and Distance Education: The Future of Learning- Learning for the Future - Shaping the Transition is taking place in Dusseldorf, Germany, 1-5 April. For more information: or

Education for All in South Asia - The South Asia Ministerial meeting on EFA will take place in Kathmandu, Nepal, 10-12 April 2001 to review action taken since Dakar, including the preparation of national action plans, data collection, etc. Attending will be participants at ministerial level, as well as from non-governmental organizations from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

The Nordic countries and Dakar follow-up -- Nordic UNESCO education committees, foreign ministries, aid organizations, education ministries and UNICEF will meet in Elsinore, Denmark (3-5 May) to discuss the Dakar Framework for Action in a Nordic context, including status and plans for interventions at the political, organizational and professional levels.

Contact: Anne Muller (