News bulletin board of UNESCO's Education Sector
No. 4
 
 Welcome to the electronic news bulletin board of UNESCO's Education Sector, informing you about UNESCO's follow-up activities to the World Education Forum in Dakar (April 2000). Please forward it to other interested colleagues.
 

Contents (18 September 2000)

- Celebration of International Literacy Day 2000

- Working Group on Education for All to meet in Paris (22-24 November 2000)

- Meeting to inform Permanent Delegations to UNESCO (20 September 2000)

- Mission of UNESCO's Assistant Director-General for Education to the United States

- Regional mobilization for Education for All

- Latin America and the Caribbean: PROMEDLAC to discuss EFA action

- Asia: Sub-regional EFA Forums under consideration

- Africa: First meeting in preparation

- The Arab States: Meeting to take place in October 2000

- The Caucasus: New network to co-ordinate Dakar follow-up

- Dakar follow-up on the agenda

- Straight off the press

 
Celebration of International Literacy Day 2000
 
 "The combat waged by UNESCO is first and foremost that of education for all. Education is fragile and still too unequally distributed. Literacy is the gateway to education. To be useful and functional, literacy must be directly related with improving economic and social status," said Ko´chiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO in his message on the occasion of International Literacy Day 2000. The day was celebrated with festivity in a great number of countries around the world for the thirtieth successive year. In Paris, UNESCO's five International Literacy Prizes were awarded to organizations in Bolivia, Iraq, the Philippines, Senegal and Zimbabwe that have distinguished themselves by making a particularly meritorious and effective contribution to the struggle against illiteracy (for more information visit http://www.unesco.org/education).
 
  Education - its challenges, purpose and potential in the age of electronic communication - was also the subject of a lively debate, Building Learning Societies: Knowledge, Information and Human Development, organized by UNESCO, the World Bank and Germany's Foundation for International Development as part of EXPO2000 in Hanover, Germany, from 6 to 8 September.
 
 During three days, some 100 participants from a wide range of professional and social backgrounds sought to examine the key challenge of the new millennium: Understanding how people, societies and economies acquire and use knowledge - and why they sometimes fail to do.
 
  The event closed with the launch of the first International Adult Learners' Week in a televised debate called Platform for the Future, which brought together Edelgard Bulmahn, Germany's Federal Minister for Education and Research, and Seydou Sanan, Education Minister of Burkina Faso, and featured messages from UNESCO Director-General Ko´chiro Matsuura and United Kingdom Education Secretary David Blunkett.
 
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Working Group on Education for All to meet in Paris (22 to 24 November 2000)
 
 The first meeting of the Working Group on Education for All will take place at UNESCO, Paris, from 22 to 24 November 2000. Chaired by UNESCO's Assistant Director-General for Education a.i., the group will serve as an informal mechanism to provide technical guidance to the EFA movement. The group will also formulate suggestions in preparation for the high-level, informal group that UNESCO's Director-General will convene in the first quarter of 2001. For further details, see the 'Outlines of the Action Plan for the Follow-up to the Dakar Forum' http://www2.unesco.org/wef/en-news/action%20plan.shtm.
 
  The Working Group will comprise some 40 members, including representatives from countries and regions, national and international non-governmental organizations and foundations, bi-lateral donor agencies, multi-lateral and regional agencies, the OECD and the G-8. The list of participants will be distributed in a forthcoming issue of the Bulletin Board. Membership of the group will be on a rotating basis for most of the seats in each category.
 
  The provisional agenda of the meeting consists of three main parts: a) information sharing on progress and constraints in Dakar follow-up by participants, b) in-depth discussion on strategic issues including flagship programmes based on conceptual/methodological papers prepared for the meeting and c) suggestions for the agenda of the meeting of the high-level group.
 
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Meeting to inform Permanent Delegations to UNESCO (20 September 2000)
 
All Permanent Delegates and Observers to UNESCO are invited to attend an information meeting on the follow-up to the Dakar Forum. The meeting will take place on 20 September in UNESCO, Paris (Room XII, Fontenoy), from 11.30 a.m. to 12.45 p.m. The main objective of the meeting, which will be chaired by UNESCO's Assistant Director-General for Education a.i., is to inform Permanent Delegations about UNESCO action since the World Education Forum last April and present the Country Guidelines on the preparations of national EFA plans of action. These guidelines aim at stimulating follow-up action at country level, particularly to promote the setting-up or revival of national EFA forums.
 
The country guidelines in English and French are attached to this Bulletin Board and are also available on the World Education Forum website http://www2.unesco.org/wef/en-news/countryguidelines.shtm. They are currently being translated into Arabic, Chinese, Russian and Spanish.
 
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Mission of UNESCO's Assistant Director-General for Education to the United States
 
Jacques Hallak, UNESCO's Assistant Director-General for Education a.i. last week headed a mission to the United States to continue the on-going dialogue on Dakar follow-up activities.
 
He had fruitful meetings with Carol Bellamy, the Executive Director of UNICEF and her education team, Maris O'Rouke, head of the World Bank's EFA Taskforce, Emily Vargas-Baron, Deputy Assistant Administrator of USAID, as well as several non-governmental organizations, including Stephen Moseley, President of the Academy for Educational Development.
Representing the Director-General of UNESCO, Jacques Hallak gave the keynote address entitled Global Connections: Expanding Partnerships and New Challenges at the National Conference on Educational Technology 2000. The conference was organized by the Department of Education of the United States.
 
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Regional mobilization for Education for All
 
Momentum is now picking up at regional level. All regions are discussing how best to co-ordinate Dakar follow-up activities and facilitate EFA action at country level. The situation is still unclear in many regions, but as the regional briefs below indicate, consultations between various EFA stakeholders are currently taking place, showing the enthusiasm and political will to move forward the EFA agenda.
 
"It is important for UNESCO that the regions themselves take the main responsibility in formulating an EFA strategy," comments Jacques Hallak, Assistant Director-General for Education of UNESCO a.i. "It is the only way to ensure a real impact at both regional and national levels."
 
In most cases, the 'former' Regional Technical Advisory Groups (RTAGs), which were established to facilitate the EFA 2000 Assessment, are seen as important building blocks in the implementation of the Dakar Framework for Action. However, most regions are keen to ensure a better representation of all stakeholders in the new regional forums.
 
The main functions of the regional mechanisms will be to identify the needs of each region, mobilize resources within the region and, finally, to set up collaborative mechanisms that will allow countries to prepare and implement their national plans of action.
 
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Latin America and the Caribbean: PROMEDLAC VII to discuss on EFA action
 
The implementation of the Dakar Framework for Action in Latin American and the Caribbean will be on the agenda of the Seventh Meeting of the Regional Intergovernmental Committee of the Major Project in Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (PROMEDLAC VII). The conference will take place in Cochabamba, Bolivia from 30 October to 1 November 2000.
 
In a special session, participants will discuss how to promote and organize regional co-operation in response to the Dakar Forum. A special effort will be made to involve all major stakeholders in the EFA movement, including education ministers, United Nations organizations, development banks, bilateral donor agencies and non-governmental organizations in this session. PROMEDLAC 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.
 
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Asia: Sub-regional EFA Forums under consideration
 
The creation of four sub-regional EFA Forums is currently being discussed in Asia and the Pacific. The idea is that these forums would continue the work of the former RTAGs in the region, but would have an enlarged membership to ensure that all stakeholders, including country representatives, non-governmental organizations and multinational organizations, are well represented.
 
The four regions are East and South East Asia, Central Asia and the Trans-Caucasus, the Pacific, and South and West Asia. UNESCO's Assistant Director-General for Education a.i. will go on mission to India in late September to meet with directors of UNESCO offices in the region, as well as representatives of international organizations to discuss in further details the role of the sub-regional forums.
 
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Planning meeting of APPEAL
 
The Asia Pacific Programme on Education for All (APPEAL) held a planning meeting on regional activities in basic and continuing education from 11 to 13 September 2000 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. A. Hakeem, APPEAL co-ordinator, underlined the importance of developing effective regional follow-up programmes to respond to the challenges identified in the EFA 2000 Assessment and the Dakar Framework for Action. "It is necessary and timely for APPEAL to renew its vision, strategies and modalities," he said.
 
APPEAL is well known in the Asia Pacific Region, particularly for its innovative work in literacy and continuing education. As a follow-up to Dakar, APPEAL is planning to provide technical assistance to Member States in preparing their national EFA plans. It will further consolidate and expand the Community Learning Centers, which were established with communities, NGOs and governments across the region. They symbolize APPEAL's response to put the expanded vision of basic education into practice and respond to the Dakar goals in an integrated manner.
 
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Africa: First meeting under preparation
 
Consultations are currently taking place to decide on the most effective follow-up mechanism in Africa. A preparatory planning meeting is scheduled to take place in October 2000. More information will be published in a forthcoming issue of the Bulletin Board.
 
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The Arab States: Meeting to take place in October 2000
 
A one-day consultation on Dakar follow-up activities in the Arab region is planned to take place in October 2000, probably in UNESCO Beirut office. The meeting is expected to set the basis for renewed EFA efforts in the Arab region. An Arabic version of the country guidelines will be distributed to participants in advance and will help define the role of ARABEFA, the former RTAG, in assisting Member States in the development of EFA national plans before 2002.
 
ARABEFA is planning to develop its activities through four thematic working groups: Early Childhood Development, Primary Education, Non-formal and Literacy Education and Education of Women and Girls
 
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The Caucasus: New network to co-ordinate Dakar follow-up
 
A new Network of the Pedagogical Institutes of the Caucasus region was established in the beginning of June 2000. As the network is the only educational network in the region, it is expected to be instrumental in the follow-up to the Dakar Forum. It will also work closely with UNESCO major programmes in education (through the UNESCO Chairs, the Associated Schools Project etc). The Network includes so far the pedagogical and language institutes of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia and the initial phase is co-ordinated by the rector of the Tbilisi Pedagogical University.
 
 
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Dakar follow-up on the agenda
 

- The forthcoming session of UNESCO's Executive Board (9-25 October 2000) will examine the action taken by Organization in the follow-up action to the World Education Forum and give recommendations of future directions for UNESCO in the Education for All movement.

- The Director-General of UNESCO will meet with the OECD's Development Assistance Committee on 2 October 2000 to discuss the financial implications of the Dakar Framework for Action.

- The OECD Development Centre and UNESCO are jointly organizing a seminar on 4 October 2000 in Paris to share experiences, knowledge and practices in the field of education and development. This first policy dialogue will focus specifically on Africa where challenges in education are huge and will include a special session on follow-up to Dakar. It is expected that the meeting will lead to improved operational activities and effective implementation of policies directed towards the broad goals of development. The seminar will bring together policy-makers and experts in an attempt to explore synergies and possible future collaboration in similar policy dialogues.

- The Standing Conference of European Ministers of Education to take place in Krakow, Poland from 15 to 17 October 2000 will also touch upon issues raised at the Dakar Forum. UNESCO will be represented by Jacques Hallak, Assistant Director-General for Education a.i. and Alexandre Sannikov, Chief of the Europe Desk, who will present a just-published report on UNESCO's educational activities in the region 1998-2000. This document will shortly be available on Internet http://www.education.unesco.org

 
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Straight off the press
 
The final issue of the EFA 2000 Bulletin focuses on the World Education Forum in Dakar. It includes an "opinion article" by the Director-General of UNESCO, as well as the global results of the EFA 2000 Assessment. It also features the Dakar Framework for Action.
 
Published by UNESCO since 1990 for the now disbanded Education for All Forum, the quarterly Bulletin appeared in five languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French and Spanish). It had a strategic worldwide distribution to more than 30,000 subscribers, including ministers of education, government officials, bilateral donor agencies, UN agencies, NGOs, the media, etc.
 
UNESCO will continue to keep its partners up to date on the issues and challenges facing the Education for All movement worldwide through advocacy materials, publications and the electronic press.
 
The EFA 2000 Bulletin can also be found on the Internet
 
http://www2.unesco.org/efa/05EFAbul.htm
 
The September-November issue of Countdown, UNESCO's education sector newsletter is now available in English (the French will come out in two weeks-time) Countdown can be viewed on http://www.unesco.org/education/educnews/new_idx.htm
 
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Information Contact: Anne Muller (a.muller@unesco.org)