News bulletin board of UNESCO's Education Sector
No. 19
 
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 (19 March 2001)

---> Inter-agency evaluation of development assistance to basic education
---> Latin American and Caribbean nations adopt Cochabamba Declaration on education
---> Ten regional workshops on education data collection
---> Expert meeting on funding needs in education
---> NGO meeting in Nepal postponed
---> East and South East Asia: Practical planning guide to be published
---> Arab States: Second meeting of ARABEFA
---> Africa: UNESCO/UNFPA Technical Consultation in Dakar (15-18 May)
---> Central Asia: UNESCO and UNICEF launch series of meeting
---> Countries in action for EFA (in this issue: Brazil, Morocco and Spain)
---> Dakar on the agenda

Attachments in this issue:
---> The Cochabamba Declaration and Recommendations adopted by PROMEDLAC VII

 
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Inter-agency evaluation of development assistance to basic education

A number of bilateral and multilateral donor agencies have agreed to carry out an inter-agency evaluation of development assistance to basic education. During a meeting on 23 February in The Hague, representatives of Canada, Denmark, the European Commission, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, UNESCO, UNICEF, United Kingdom and the World Bank decided on the content and procedures for the proposed evaluation.

The meeting decided that the evaluation should be a guiding post for the Dakar follow-up process by analysing the processes and results of development assistance to basic education in partner countries.

The results of the evaluation are expected to be used in several ways: as inputs into the design of agency strategies, in the context of discussing specific management and partnership issues, to improve practice in the field, to identify best practices and to improve aid efficiency and effectiveness.

Participants also stressed that basic education should be seen in the wider context of poverty, gender, HIV/AIDS, and sectoral and intersectoral issues. Five countries will be invited to participate in the evaluation.

As soon as the terms of reference for the evaluation are finalized, an evaluation team will be selected through an international competitive bidding process. The evaluation will be co-ordinated by an inter-agency steering committee and a management group, lead by the Netherlands.

Latin American and Caribbean nations adopt Cochabamba Declaration on education

The Cochabamba Declaration and a series of recommendations concerning educational policies were adopted by participants in the three-day meeting of the Regional Intergovernmental Committee of the Major Project for Education (PROMEDLAC VII), organized by UNESCO in Bolivia from 5-7 March.

The Conference, a landmark for the future of education in Latin America and the Caribbean, brought together delegations from most countries in the region, including sixteen Ministers of Education and fifteen Deputy Ministers. It was opened on 5 March by the President of Bolivia, Hugo Banzer.

The Cochabamba Declaration reaffirms the determination of countries to find new ways to achieve the targets of Education for All. The Ministers of Education of Latin America and the Caribbean state that to achieve a qualitative leap in education, "education systems must accelerate the pace of change in order to not fall behind changes that are taking place in other parts of society."

Recalling the irreplaceable part teachers play in achieving quality learning, the signatories also stress that "the participation of new actors and the introduction of new technologies should work to reinforce the professional role of teachers." They add: "Within a region of growing social inequality, the strengthening and the transformation of public education represents a key mechanism for effective social democratization."

Finally, the Cochabamba Declaration requests UNESCO to organize in co-operation with the region’s ministers "a Regional Project with a fifteen-year perspective", taking into account unattained objectives and emerging challenges.

Ten regional workshops on education data collection

The UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) this week launches a second round of ten regional workshops. The objective of the workshops is to evaluate the education data collection exercise for the school year 1998/99 called Survey 2000 and to launch Survey 2001, the data collection exercise for 1999/2000. Last year a series of nine workshops brought together some 240 education and statistics experts from 130 countries.

Tentative dates for the Survey 2001 workshops (to be confirmed):

* 19-23 March 2001- Barbados (Caribbean)
* 26-30 March 2001- Panama (Latin America)
* 26-30 March 2001- Senegal (French-speaking Africa)
* 1-5 April 2001- Zimbabwe (English-speaking Africa)
* 23-27 April 2001- Gabon (French-speaking Africa)
* 7-11 May 2001 - Kyrgyzstan (Central Asia)
* 14-18 May 2001- Morocco (Arab States)
* 28 May-1 June 2001- Lithuania (Central and Eastern Europe)
* 4-8 June 2001 - Lao People's Democratic Republic (South East Asia)
* 11-15 June 2001- Fiji (Pacific)

Survey 2001 (and Survey 2000 before it) aims to collect the basic statistics necessary to calculate the set of key education indicators that are considered to be of highest priority. These indicators were chosen on the basis of their frequency of use by Member States, regional and international organizations, and other main users. The list includes indicators such as gross and net enrolment ratios, student/staff ratios and selected indicators on education finance.

Contact: Alison Kennedy, UIS / E-mail: a.kennedy@unesco.org

Expert meeting on funding needs in education

The UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) hosted an expert meeting on education finance policy issues and data needs on 12-13 March. Bringing together policy researchers, economists and statisticians, the meeting discussed working papers on the estimation of the additional expenditure needed to achieve universal primary education by 2015, the mobilization of external resources for education and the obstacles faced in financing education at the national level.

One important outcome of the meeting was the evaluation of available indicators on education finance and their deficiencies. Participants helped to establish priorities to meet the demand for policy-relevant data. They also gave valuable input based on a draft strategy paper on improving the quality of education finance data (which was commissioned by UIS and discussed during the meeting) and on concrete steps for moving it forward (e.g. possible modalities of international co-operation).

For more information on the outcomes of the meeting, please contact Albert Motivans of UIS (a.motivans@unesco.org).

NGO meeting in Nepal postponed

The 2001 Annual Meeting of the Collective Consultation of NGOs on Education for All, originally planned from 6-9 April in Kathmandu, has been postponed for later this year. The postponement will allow for more extensive consultations within the NGO community to ensure that a broad consensus is reached on the proposed reform of the Collective Consultation. The new dates and the venue will be communicated shortly.

The South Asia Ministerial meeting on EFA will take place in Kathmandu, Nepal, from 10-12 April, as planned.

Regional up-date on EFA activities

East and South East Asia: Practical planning guide to be published

UNESCO Bangkok is preparing a "Basic Education Planning Guide" to facilitate the preparation of national EFA plans of action. It will provide education planners and national co-ordinators with some practical tools and instruments, including checklists, structures of typical EFA plans and EFA projection models.

The guide has been prepared through a process of consultations, most recently a regional workshop organized by UNESCO from 19-21 February in which seventeen participants from seven countries participated.

The final version of the Guide will be ready for distribution by mid-April and will complement the country guidelines for preparation of national EFA plans of action, published by UNESCO headquarters last year.

Contact: The subregional EFA Forum (SRF) for East and South East Asia / E-mail: srf@unesco-proap.org

Arab States: Second meeting of ARABEFA

ARABEFA, the regional mechanism to follow-up to the Dakar Forum, has called its second meeting on 29 March at UNESCO Beirut. Education officers of UNESCO, UNICEF and UNDP in charge of leading the United Nations support team in each country are invited to attend the meeting, in addition to the regular members of ARABEFA (UNESCO, UNICEF, UNDP, UNFPA, the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), the World Bank, Arab non-governmental organizations and two education specialists).

The meeting will discuss best ways to initiate country support and how to ensure a good follow-up network in the region. Other issues on the agenda are the work plans of the four thematic group established by ARAEFA (early childhood development, primary education, literacy and non-formal education, and girl's and women education), the regional media strategy, financial support to countries and the funding needs of ARABEFA.

Contact: Victor Billeh, Director, UNESCO Beirut / Email: v.billeh@unesco.org

Africa: UNESCO/UNFPA Technical Consultation in Dakar (15-18 May)

UNESCO Dakar is organizing, in co-operation with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), a technical consultation on population and family life education from 15-18 May at UNESCO Dakar.

The consultation intends to mobilize and highlight experiences in sub-Saharan Africa, specifically to: (1) take stock of the what has been done in population and family life education programmes; (2) map out strategies to promote the effective integration of population and family life education in national EFA plans of action in both formal and non-formal education; and (3) define modalities for the inclusion of new approaches such as those used in life skills training and education programmes.

The co-operation between UNESCO and UNFPA has already lead to the development of population education in education systems in over ninety countries.

Contact: Susan Nkinyangi, Senior Education Adviser, UNESCO/Dakar / E-mail: s.van-der-vynckt@unesco.org

Central Asia: UNESCO and UNICEF launch series of meeting

UNESCO Almaty, in collaboration with UNICEF, is planning to conduct five national roundtables on Education and the United Nations Global Movement for Children in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan (late March to early April).

The outcomes will be presented at one of UNICEF's consultative meetings in mid-May leading up to the United Nations' Special Session on Children in September. A three-day workshop, organized by UNESCO Almaty and UNESCO Beijing, took place in Mongolia in February.

UNESCO Almaty is also planning to organize a subregional workshop, with the participation of a broad coalition of stakeholders, including governments, media, NGOs and donors, from the same five countries. This workshop will focus on the progress made towards the preparation of national EFA plans of action. It will take place in June or September/October.

Finally, UNESCO and UNICEF plan to officially launch the Central Asian Education Forum in late October.

Contact: Jorge Sequira, Director, UNESCO Almaty * E+mail: j.sequira@unesco.org

Countries in action (in this issue: Brazil, Morocco and Spain)

Brazil Brazil adopted a new National Education Plan on 9 January, setting out the goals and priorities to be met during the next ten year.

According to the Plan, federal, state and municipal administrations must adopt, before the decade is over, measures to raise the schooling level of the population, improve teaching quality at all levels, reduce social and regional inequalities, and increasingly democratize the management of public education.

The number one priority is to assure primary education to all 7-to 14- year-old children, as well as to youth and adults who have not yet had a chance to attend school. The Plan demands effective education policies to assure student's performance and minimize drop-out. With a school net enrolment rate of 96 per cent in 2000, Brazil is close to universal primary education. The repetition rate, one of the major causes for school drop-out, fell from 27 per cent to 21 per cent in the period 1996-1998.

The eradication of illiteracy is another major objective and the goal is to provide literacy to 10 million youngsters and adults within five years. In 1999, 13.3 per cent of the population aged 15 years or older were illiterate, amounting to some 15 million people. In 1991, the illiteracy rate was around 20.1 per cent, i.e. 19.2 million.

The Brazilian Government will also continue the expansion of secondary and higher education. From 1994 to 2000, Brazil increased enrolment in secondary education by 3.7 million or 81.6%.

Finally, the new Plan puts forward the ambitious goals of improving the access to and better quality of early childhood education. It is expected that by the end of the decade, 50 per cent of 0- to 3-year-old children and 80 per cent of 4- to 5-year-olds participate in early childhood education programmes.

The Brazilian National Education Plan was elaborated in close consultation with members of civil society, local governing bodies and the National Congress.

Contact: Maria Helena Guimarães de Castro, President, National Institute for Educational Studies and Research - INEP/Brazil E-mail: mhelena@inep.gov.br

Morocco

In Morocco the existing United Nations Theme Group on Education, Training and Literacy is serving as support team for the Dakar follow-up process. In April, UNESCO and UNICEF -- on behalf of the team -- will organize a meeting to brief all concerned staff in the Ministry of National Education about the Dakar objectives and strategies.

There will be no National EFA Forum in Morocco as the "Charte de l'Education", currently being adopted, involved a long series of consultations in the preparation phase. However, it has been proposed, as a next step, that a national consultant will analyse the Charter and on-going activities, etc., to extract what is appropriate in line with the Dakar objectives/deadlines, identify what, if any, lacunas need to be filled in and then propose a calendar of action and a joint programme of support to the Ministry by the Theme Group.

Contact: Alexis Pokrovsky, Head of UNESCO Rabat / E-mail: a.pokrovsky@acdim.net.ma

Spain

Following a major decentralization reform, Spain's seventeen Autonomous Communities have, since January 2000, been responsible for managing the education system. They are now, in close collaboration with the central government, engaged in the development of a national EFA plan of action. A first meeting between the various stakeholders was held on 27 February to decide on a calendar and the first actions to be taken. It was agreed to set up three sub-commissions working on different aspects of the six Dakar goals and to elaborate indicators to facilitate the monitoring of progress towards achieving these goals.

The sub-commissions include representatives from the Autonomous Communities, as well as from the ministries of education, work and social affairs. The Instituto Nacional de Evaluación y Calidad (INCE) is collaborating closely with the sub-commissions. The national action plan will be finalized and presented at a conference in December.

Dakar follow-up on the agenda

MOBILIZING AFRICAN PARENTS -- The Fédération Africaine des Parents d’Eleve (FAPE) organized a workshop on the implications of the Dakar Framework for Action for African parents (26-28 February at UNESCO Dakar). The subsequent meeting of FAPE’s governing board adopted a declaration urging governments in sub-Saharan Africa to take the necessary steps to implement the Dakar Framework and underlining FAPE's firm commitment to actively engage in the achievements of the Dakar goals.

IMPROVING LOCAL GOVERNANCE -- UNESCO, in collaboration with the World Bank, organized an international consultation on educational governance at local levels, and more specifically, on “what role educational governance can play to provide access to quality education for all by 2015" (27-28 February at UNESCO Paris). It was agreed, inter alia, to develop a Framework for Action and Co-operation to address priority areas in educational governance and to conduct an international survey to gather information on key matters concerning local governance in education. Contact: F. Khan, UNESCO Paris (f.khan@unesco.org)

BASIC EDUCATION EDUCATORS -- An Experts Meeting for the Norwegian Funds-in-Trust Project, Basic Education Educators: Integrated Policy and Training, was organized to review national action plans of nine countries on how to improve linkage between formal and non-formal sectors in training of basic education educators (26-28 February, UNESCO Paris). Contact: Choi, Soo Hyang, UNESCO Paris (sh.choi@unesco.org)

CIES 2001 -- The 45th annual meeting of the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) took place from 14-17 March in Washington D.C. UNESCO organized several panels on issues including information technologies, education policies and strategies: challenges for the future and Education for All: linkages between formal and non-formal education.

HIV/AIDS AND EDUCATION IN WEST AFRICA -- A senior experts conference on HIV/AIDS and education in West African countries will take place 19-24 March in Accra, Ghana. Organized by UNESCO Ghana, in co-operation with UNAIDS Geneva and its partner organizations, the conference will, among other things, formulate a strategic framework for national and regional action to support national policies and programmes, speed up the delivery of HIV/AIDS preventive education services to the communities and formulate a series of regional projects to reach these goals.

EVALUATING THE USE OF ICTs IN EDUCATION -- An international expert meeting on "ICTs in Education: State-of-the-Art, Needs and Perspectives - Indicators and Information Systems" will be held 28-30 March at the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education (IITE) in Moscow. Gathering some ten to fifteen experts from Europe, Africa, Asia and the Pacific, the meeting will seek to evaluate the educational use of information and communication technologies in education. Contact: Boris Kotsik, IITE (Boris.Kotsik@iite.ru).

 
Contact: Anne Muller (a.muller@unesco.org)