News bulletin board of UNESCO's Education Sector
No. 13
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 (11 December 2000)

---> In Bamako, six African countries commit themselves to reinforcing Education for All

---> Next steps following the first meeting of the Working Group on EFA

---> Commonwealth Ministers of Education endorse EFA goals

---> UNESCO prepares new strategic framework for gender equality in basic education

---> Donation of Norway to UNESCO's Education for All process

---> Regional update on EFA activities

---> Countries in action for EFA (in this issue: Kuwait)

---> Hot off the press

Attachments in this issue:

---> UNESCO's draft paper on mobilizing international financial support for basic education

---> Speech by UNESCO's Director-General at the Heads of State conference in Bamako, Mali (in French only)

In Bamako, six African countries commit themselves to reinforcing Education for All
The Heads of State of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali and Niger, as well as the Prime Minister of Guinea and the deputy minister in charge of early childhood issues for Senegal, resolved to make education for all a national priority, at a conference organized by UNESCO and the World Bank in Bamako, Mali, on 27 November 2000 within the framework of the follow-up to last Aprilís World Education Forum in Dakar, Senegal.
The six countries, which have some of the lowest school enrolment rates in the world, announced they will reinforce Education for All notably through a significant increase in funding allocated to education: at least 4 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will go toward education from now through the year 2015, as opposed to between 1 to 3 per cent of GDP at present. They also decided to grant 50 per cent of their education budgets to the development of basic education and "to undertake reforms for the redefinition of priorities, the reallocation of budgets and the sharing of responsibilities in education between the State, communities and organizations
UNESCO Director-General Koichiro Matsuura gave the keynote address at the conference. It was preceded by a ministerial meeting from 25-26 November, which brought together education ministers of the six countries, finance ministers, as well as representatives of unions and parent associations, Members of Parliament, NGOs, USAID and the governments of France and the Netherlands.
Please find the speech by UNESCO's Director-General attached (in French only) .
Reinforcing participation of NGOs and other civil society groups in EFA in Africa
Following the Heads of State conference, some seventy participants from non-governmental and civil society organizations, ministries of education, as well as other EFA partners discussed strategies to reinforce and expand the contributions of NGOs to EFA efforts in sub-Saharan Africa. Three key themes were discussed during the seminar: identification of the contribution by NGOs and local associations in national EFA processes, development of mechanisms to enhance information sharing and political dialogue, and finally, the development of capacity-building programmes for NGOs and civil society organizations. Participants agreed on time-bound recommendations to reinforce the contributions of these groups and ensure their active participation in the development and implementation of national action plans on EFA.
The seminar was organized jointly by UNESCO and the World Bank in collaboration with the Collective Consultation on Literacy and Education for All under the United Nations Special Initiative for Africa.
Next steps following the first meeting of the Working Group on EFA

On the recommendation of the Working Group on EFA, which met for the first time from 22-24 November 2000 in Paris, UNESCO has decided to create a number of task-oriented sub-committees, which will be up and running early next year. These are:

A sub-committee on financing, working on the basis of UNESCO's new draft paper on mobilizing international financial support for basic education (attached).

A virtual e-mail group to develop better 'codes of behaviour' and create a platform for discussions between bilateral donor agencies to ensure better coherence in international partnerships at the country level.

Another virtual group to reflect on a new, more operational version of the Country Guidelines for the preparation of national EFA plans of action.

Moreover, UNESCO will continue its efforts to play a supportive, organizing role by mapping progress on a country-by-country basis. This information will be made available in a transparent fashion to all bilateral and multilateral agencies to facilitate the identification of countries where help is most urgently needed and to stimulate increased donor commitment. A time-bound action plan for 2001 outlining the roles of UNESCO and its partners is also in the making. Finally, efforts will be made to increasingly involve the private sector in the EFA movement
The three-day Working Group meeting brought together 53 key actors in the Education for All movement. The report of the meeting will be published in the first quarter of 2001. Presentations made during the meeting are available on UNESCO's Dakar follow-up website:
Commonwealth Ministers of Education endorse EFA goals
Ministers of Education of the Commonwealth agreed last week on a framework that will guide Commonwealth co-operation in education in the coming years. During the 14th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers in Halifax, Canada (26-30 November 2000), they affirmed their commitment to achieving education for all.
"We reaffirm our commitment to the spirit of the 1990 Jomtien Declaration on education for all, and the goal of achieving universal access to sustainable quality basic education by 2015, as outlined in the Dakar Framework for Action of April 2000 and reiterated at the UN's 2000 Millennium Summit and the G8 Summit," states the Declaration of Ministers. It continues: "We welcome the high degree of international co-operation and support for education, and the pledge made by the international community at Dakar that no country which shows serious commitment and has sensible plans for education will fail for lack of resources. We will strive to ensure that this pledge is honoured."
Jacques Hallak, Assistant Director-General for Education a.i participated in the opening ceremony on behalf of UNESCO's Director-General.
For more information on the conference:
UNESCO prepares new strategic framework for gender equality in basic education
Some twenty international experts met last week in Paris to discuss UNESCO's draft strategic framework for gender equality in basic education. The framework will constitute policy guidelines for UNESCO's future activities in the area of girls' and women's education, with special reference to non-formal education.
"We believe that girls' and women's education are closely linked. It cannot be handled separately only on the basic of age," said AÔcha Bah Diallo, UNESCO's Deputy Assistant Director-General for Education in her welcome address. She specifically stressed the importance of reaching adolescent girls and boys as it is during this crucial transitory period that important biological, physical and mental changes occur.
The strategic framework will be used to assist countries in attaining the Dakar EFA goals on gender equality in education by 2015. It will also represent UNESCO's contribution to the ten-year United Nations Girls' Education Initiative, launched by the UN Secretary-General at the World Education Forum last April.
Donation of Norway to UNESCO's Education for All process
UNESCO has received NOK1,6 million (US$175.000) from Norway to UNESCO's working in the follow-up to the World Education Forum.
UNESCO is currently negotiating with several other bilateral donor agencies to mobilize funding for the Education for All process.
Regional update on EFA activities
Latin America
The Seventh Meeting of the Regional Intergovernmental Committee of the Major Project in Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (PROMEDLAC VII) will take place from 5-7 March 2001 in Cochabamba, Bolivia.
UNESCO's Director-General will attend the conference which is expected to discuss the implementation of the Dakar Framework for Action in Latin American and the Caribbean. PROMEDLAC VII will also analyse the results of the Major Project in Education, which has inspired the majority of education reforms undertaken by governments in the region during the past twenty years
The conference was planned to take place last October but was postponed in agreement with the government of Bolivia.
South Asia
The Sub-Regional Meeting of EFA for South Asia will take place from 7-9 April 2001. The venue of the meeting is still to be decided. Ministers of Education of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Iran, Nepal, the Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are expected to attend to discuss national follow-up to the Dakar Framework for Action and the Recife Declaration for the E-9 countries (of which three - Bangladesh, India and Pakistan - are in South Asia), identify problems and constrains and share experience and alternative solutions. UNESCO's Director-General is expected to participate in the meeting.
Countries in action for education for all (in this issue: Kuwait)
Kuwait has requested UNESCO to mobilize high-level experts to participate in a national conference on education reform in Kuwait to be held in November 2001. UNESCO, through its Beirut Office, has been working closely with UNDP in preparing the education reform in Kuwait, underway since April 1999.
Hot off the press

Country Guidelines for the Preparation of National Plans of Action (in English, French, Spanish - shortly available in Arabic, Chinese and Russian). Available in hard copy or on the Internet

UNESCO has published a discussion paper entitled Development Partner Co-operation in the Support of Education for All: Rationale and Strategies, of which a summary is attached to this Bulletin Board.

An executive summary of the statistical document on the EFA 2000 Asssessment is now available in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish. Hard copies can be obtained from UNESCO's Institute for Statistics (UIS), please contact The summary can also be found in PDF format on the Internet

The December issue of Countdown, the newsletter of UNESCO's Education Sector, is now available. It informs about EFA efforts in Nigeria, multipurpose community telecentres in Africa, micro-credit programmes in Jordan and much more. It is available on the Internet in English at

Information Contact: Anne Muller (