News bulletin board of UNESCO's Education Sector
No. 5
 
 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 (2 October 2000)

-UNESCO creates EFA Observatory

- Working Group on Education for All to meet in November 2000

- UNESCO Director-General meets non-governmental organizations (NGOs)

- Dakar follow-up in South Asia takes off

- USAID grant to Education Indicators Regional Project in Latin America and the Caribbean

- Countries in action for promoting EFA agenda

- World Teachers' Day 2000: Expanding horizons

- Straight off the press - the Dakar Framework for Action

- Exchange of information on Dakar follow-up activities

Attachments in this issue:

- Joint United Nations message on the occasion of World Teachers' Day (5 October 2000)

 

UNESCO creates EFA Observatory
 
UNESCO is establishing an Observatory to monitor and report on progress achieved in Education for All. The Observatory will be based in the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS).
 
"The experience of the first ten years of the EFA movement showed that regular monitoring of the state of education throughout the world must be an essential aspect of the follow-up to the Dakar Forum," says Denise Lievesley, Director of UIS.
 
One of the first tasks of the Observatory will be to evaluate the indicators used during the EFA 2000 Assessment. On the basis of this evaluation, the Observatory will improve existing indicators and develop new ones (such as the quality of the education systems), which were not addressed adequately in the EFA 2000 Assessment.
 
"UIS is uniquely placed to take on the role of Observatory," says Lievesley. "We will ensure that all countries, regions and the international community have access to the information they need for monitoring progress and to ensure that the EFA objectives are met in all countries and as soon as possible."
 
Widespread consultation with partner agencies, non-governmental organizations and, of course, Member States themselves will be a necessary and on-going activity of the Observatory. The process has already begun with Member States with nine regional workshops conducted in June and July 2000 by UIS staff and will continue on at least an annual basis.
 

UIS contact: Alison Kennedy (a.kennedy@unesco.org).

http://unescostat.unesco.org/

 
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Working Group on Education for All to meet in November 2000
 
Invitations for participation in the first meeting of the Working Group on Education for All, to be held at UNESCO's headquarters in Paris from 22 to 24 November 2000, are currently being sent out. Attached to this Bulletin Board are the agenda of the meeting and a general information note.
 
UNESCO Director-General meets non-governmental organizations (NGOs)
 
Last week, UNESCO's Director-General, Koïchiro Matsuura, met with NGO representatives of the Global Campaign for Education, a coalition of 400 development NGOs and teachers' unions in 180 countries, to discuss follow-up to the Dakar Forum.
 
The NGO representatives underlined how much they welcomed the reaffirmation in Dakar of UNESCO's leadership role in EFA and stressed their commitment to continue working with UNESCO and the other EFA partners.
 
In response to NGO concern that "there had been too much focus on process and too little action since the Dakar Forum", Mr Matsuura said that UNESCO has taken steps to "get the ball rolling" and referred to the Action Plan, which has been circulated widely. He explained initiatives at national, regional and international levels and emphasized UNESCO's work in developing financing strategies for new funding initiatives to promote EFA, which he will discuss with partners, including the OECD, this week.
 
Mr. Matsuura stressed the important advocacy role of the Global Campaign for Education, especially among the donor community, and the crucial role of NGOs in the Working Group on Education for All, which will meet in November 2000. He also mentioned the ongoing exchange with UNESCO's Member States to assess their needs for assistance, thus underlining the fact that developing countries are the most important actors in EFA.
 
The NGOs emphasized their efforts to have continuous discussion with governments. Their intention is, according to Tom Bediako of Education International, "that everyone should think and dream together to move forward in EFA."
 
UNESCO's Director-General also met recently with a delegation of the International Catholic Education Office (Office International de l'Enseignement Catholique (OIEC), which welcomed the fact that Dakar underlined not only quantitative but also qualitative aspects of education. The delegation emphasized the availability of their large professional network to assist Member States with the implementation of national EFA plans of Action.
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Dakar follow-up in South Asia takes off
 

A timetable for Dakar follow-up activities in South Asia is now on the table. Last week, Jacques Hallak, UNESCO's Assistant Director-General for Education a.i., headed a mission to India to discuss sub-regional EFA activities with the directors of UNESCO offices in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. They decided on the following series of action:

UNESCO's offices in the subregion (including UNESCO Nepal) will streamline their education activities to reflect the Dakar Framework for Action. · The four offices will work out a subregional action plan, emphasizing in particular quality and learning achievement, curriculum development and change, and literacy and non-formal education in the context of poverty alleviation.

A subregional meeting will be organized in February or March 2001. On the agenda will be the follow-up to Dakar in South Asia, with special emphasis on the initiative of the nine high-population countries (E-9), three of which are in South Asia.

It was proposed that a first sub-regional activity in the context of Dakar follow-up could be a workshop on learning achievement.

Mr Hallak also had the opportunity to exchange views on Dakar follow-up with the Indian Minister for Human Resource Development, Muril Manohar Joshi and the Secretary of Elementary Education and Literacy, Achala Moulik. They both expressed satisfaction with the country guidelines on the preparation of national EFA plans of action, which UNESCO has elaborated. "These guidelines have already been very useful in organizing our follow-up activities to Dakar," Mrs Moulik said.
 
Mr Hallak also met with colleagues of UNDP, UNICEF, the World Bank and the Department for International Development (DFID), United Kingdom.
 
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USAID grant to Education Indicators Regional Project in Latin America and the Caribbean
 
The United States Agency for International Development has given a grant of US$400,000 to UNESCO's Regional Office for Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (OREALC) in support of the Education Indicators Regional Project. The Project is part of the follow-up to the second Summit of the Americas (Santiago, Chile, April 1998).
 
The objective of the project is to produce and analyse a set of basic comparable education indicators for the Americas. Over the past few years, several promising initiatives have already been undertaken in this area, including UNESCO/OREALC's regional education information project, the work of Mercosur, the World Education Indicators Project sponsored jointly by UNESCO and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and others. Each of these initiatives promises to move the region forward toward obtaining better-quality information about education systems, but there is a need for a coherent strategy to meld the initiatives together and make best use of available resources.
 
The Chilean government will implement the Education Indicators Regional Project in close collaboration with UNESCO/OREALC and the UNESCO Institute for Statistics.
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Countries in action for promoting EFA agenda
 
 
"The main responsibility for implementing the Dakar Framework for Action lies with governments," said Jacques Hallak, UNESCO's Assistant Director-General for Education a.i. at a recent information meeting for Permanent Delegations and Observers to UNESCO. "Our mission," he said, "is to support country action, mainly in terms of technical assistance."
 
Mr Hallak underlined the importance for countries to consider their EFA strategies in relation to other policy issues such as poverty alleviation and development reforms, and he emphasized the need to involve all stakeholders, civil society, the private and public sector, to move forward the EFA agenda at country level.
 

Many countries are already moving ahead with their national plans. A few examples:

In India, the government has established a new department within the Ministry of Education entirely devoted to the Dakar follow-up. The country has set itself the goal that "all children complete five years of schooling by 2007 and eight years of schooling by 2010". The budget for primary education has been increased by 25 per cent for the period 2000-2001 and a National Committee and a Technical Support Group are currently being established to ensure that the goals are reached.

With the technical assistance of UNESCO, Nicaragua this summer reviewed its national education plan from 1998 to integrate a stronger EFA component and to create clear links to the Dakar Framework for Action.

Nigeria has asked UNESCO for technical and financial assistance in the rebuilding of the country's education system. UNESCO has launched three major initiatives in the areas of basic education, sector analysis, and technical/vocational education and three 'funding documents' have been prepared to mobilize extra-budgetary funds to implement these three initiatives. A current mission of UNESCO staff members to Nigeria is co-ordinating education efforts with the DFID, UNDP, UNICEF, USAID and the World Bank, which are all in the process of putting in place their funding arrangements for education in the country. An important meeting on aspects of the education reform process will be held between the Nigerian Government and the donor community on 5 and 6 October 2000.

 
 
"No country starts from scratch," underlined Mr Hallak. "They all have some experience in EFA. Sometimes there is a need to come up with a complete new education strategy, sometimes existing strategies can be adapted to a new reality."
 
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World Teachers' Day 2000: Expanding horizons
 
 
In a joint message on the occasion of the World Teachers' Day (5 October 2000), the heads of UNESCO, ILO, UNDP and UNICEF pay homage to the role of teachers in expanding the learner's horizons and put the spotlight on the expanding horizons for teachers in the new knowledge society of the twenty-first century.
 
The joint message goes on to note that around the world, teachers are helping students to acquire the education and training needed for shaping and managing their lives, and helping them to learn how to become successful lifelong learners, always able to broaden their horizons. At the same time, teachers are expanding their horizon by exploring the best pedagogic use of new information and communication technologies, more learner-centred teaching practices, and new forms of open and distance learning.
 
The four heads appeal to the world community to renew their commitment of support to teachers and specifically ask governments to find ways of honouring the pledge made in the Dakar Framework for Action "to enhance the status, morale and professionalism of teachers". "This is the best way of showing support for teachers, who are and will remain in this new century the core of the education system, " the message states.
Please find the joint message attached.
 
 
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Straight off the press - the Dakar Framework for Action
 

The Dakar Framework for Action including the six regional frameworks for action and the 1990 World Declaration on Education for All will be available in English, French and Spanish as of Wednesday this week. The Chinese, Arabic and Russian versions will be available shortly. They already exist on the World Education Forum website at

http://www2.unesco.org/wef/en-conf/dakfram.shtm

 

 
 
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Exchange of information on Dakar follow-up activities
 
 
At the request of many of our readers, UNESCO has decided to give space in this Bulletin Board to anyone interested in sharing good examples of concrete follow-up activities to the Dakar Forum.
 
In future issues of the Bulletin Board, a special section will feature short articles on country action, inspiring examples of well-working EFA partnerships, information on flagship programmes in education, etc. Contributions can be submitted in English or French and should not exceed 300 words. Please send your contribution to the contact person mentioned below.
 
We look forward to hearing from you.
 
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Information Contact: Anne Muller (a.muller@unesco.org)