News bulletin board of UNESCO's Education Sector
No. 6
 
 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 (16 October 2000)

The Director-General of UNESCO urges increased development funding for education

UNESCO's Executive Board reviews Dakar follow-up action

Heads of State Conference on Education for six Western African countries

Joint meeting of OECD Development Centre and UNESCO on education in Africa

Regional up-date on EFA activities

Hot off the press: the Final Report of the World Education Forum

Attachment in this issue:

Speech by UNESCO's Director-General at the meeting of the Development Assistance Committee, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (2 October 2000)

 

 

The Director-General of UNESCO urges increased development funding for education
 
UNESCO Director-General Ko´chiro Matsuura appealed for increased development aid in an address on 2 October 2000 to the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
 
Speaking about the role of education in poverty reduction, Mr Matsuura urged a doubling of aid for education by 2005, to total $7 billion, and a further doubling to $14 billion by 2015 with more emphasis on basic education. He also urged debt relief to enable poor countries to increase social expenditure and fight structural poverty.
 
The Director-General reiterated the goals for education set out in the Dakar Framework for Action and noted that at the recent G-8 meeting in Okinawa, the delegates committed themselves to achieve the goals of universal primary education by 2015; achieving gender equality in schooling by 2005 and to ensure that no government seriously committed to achieving education for all will be thwarted in this achievement by lack of resources
 
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Please find Mr Matsuura's speech attached to this Bulletin Board.
 
UNESCO's Executive Board reviews Dakar follow-up action
 
The 160th session of UNESCO's Executive Board meeting, which opened last week in Paris, will review the progress made in the implementation of the Dakar Framework for Action. In his opening speech Ko´chiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO reaffirmed his commitment to carry out the leadership role in the EFA movement entrusted to the Organization by the international community.
 
"My major concern over recent months has been to maintain the momentum, both in terms of the political will and the financial will," Mr Matsuura said, adding that UNESCO's task is therefore to help Member States, particularly developing States, to translate the Dakar Framework for Action into reality.
 
"Some countries have already officially informed me of governmental decisions taken to follow up. Others need considerable help from UNESCO to do so, and in particular the E-9 countries, which we are treating as a priority. I have only very recently taken further steps, for example, to ensure that we can assist the authorities of Nigeria to the extent expected of us, and as President Obasanjo expressly called on me to do," he continued.
 
A report outlining UNESCO's follow-up activities to the Dakar Forum has been submitted to the Board members and will be discussed in a special session on 17 October. The debate will be summarized in the forthcoming issue of the Bulletin Board to be published 30 October 200
The report can be found on UNESCO's website at http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0012/001203/120348e.pdf
 
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Heads of State Conference on Education for six Western African countries
 
Within the framework of the United Nations Special Initiative for Africa, the Heads of State of Burkina Faso, Chad, Guinea, Mali, Niger and Senegal will meet on 27 November 2000 in Bamako, Mali, to explore how to accelerate the education for all agenda in these countries.
 
At the invitation of the President of Mali, Alpha Omar KonarÚ, the heads of these six countries will discuss the implications of the Dakar Framework for Action and find ways to reach the goal of education for all by 2015. UNESCO Director-General Ko´chiro Matsuura will give the keynote address at the conference.
 
"It is vital to sustain the political momentum created at Dakar in these six countries, which have some of the lowest school enrolment figures in the world," explains A´cha Bah Diallo, Deputy Assistant Director-General for Education at UNESCO.
 
The conference is jointly organized by the Malian government, UNESCO and the World Bank. It will be preceded by a two-day conference (24-25 November) of Ministers of Education and of Finance, representatives from teacher unions, parent associations, etc, as well as representatives of external donor agencies supporting education in the six countries.
 
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Joint meeting of OECD Development Centre and UNESCO on education in Africa
 
Some forty experts from UNESCO and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), together with African policy-makers, met on 4 October 2000 at OECD headquarters in Paris to discuss challenges for education and development in Africa.
 
Jointly organized by the OECD Development Centre and UNESCO, the purpose of this meeting was to share information on the challenges facing African education systems and to explore possible future collaboration between the two organizations.
 
The first part of the seminar was devoted to the results of recent studies on education for all conducted prior to the Dakar Forum. The second part was devoted to discussions of mutual interest to the two organizations, including poverty and its impact on student achievement. Genet Zewdie, Minster of Education of Ethiopia as well as other African policy-makers took an active part in the meeting as discussants, as did Mamadou Ndoye, Coordinator of the United Nations Special Initiative on Africa and former Minister of Education of Senegal.
 
For more information on the meeting please consult the programme and background note on the OECD Development Centre's website http://www.oecd.org//dev/ENGLISH/NEW/prog-unesco-dev.pdf
 
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Regional up-date on EFA activities
 
Latin America and the Caribbean
 
The Seventh Meeting of the Regional Intergovernmental Committee of the Major Project in Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (PROMEDLAC VII) has been postponed. The conference was scheduled to take place in Cochabamba, Bolivia from 30 October to 1 November 2000. At the request of the government of Bolivia, UNESCO has decided to postpone the meeting and apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause. A new date will be decided shortly.
 
Over thousand people have signed the "Latin American Statement on Education for All", an initiative that emerged from a small group of Latin American educators and researchers prior to the Dakar Forum. Adherents come from a wide range of countries, sectors and institutions: government, political parties, universities and research centers, public and private school system, NGOs, teachers unions, student associations, grassroots and indigenous organizations, mass media, churches, private enterprise and international organizations.
 
The statement continues to circulate both within and outside the region and is being disseminated through web sites, and electronic and printed publications in the various countries.
 
English version: http://www.unam.mx/roberto/dakareng.html
Spanish version: http://www.observatorio.org/
 
Africa
 
BREDA, the UNESCO regional office in Dakar, Senegal, is organizing a consultation for senior officials responsible for follow-up to the World Education Forum in Cape Verde, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Senegal and Sierra Leone (the six countries for which BREDA assures UNESCO representation). The consultation will take place in Dakar from 30-31 October 2000.
 
The purpose of the consultation is to: 1) examine progress and constraints in the formulation of national Education for All plans of action in each country; 2) discuss the strategic issues in the formation of national partnerships and opportunities for regional and international support; and 3) map the way forward.
 
With the assistance of UNESCO technical staff, the organizers hope to draw up a tentative work plan for each country, which would include areas for co-operation on the various 'Flagship Programmes' that are being mounted as part of regional and international Dakar Follow-up.
 

Contact: A. Parsuramen, Director, BREDA

e-mail: a.parsuramen@unesco.org

or Susan Van der Vynckt, Senior Education Adviser, UNESCO BREDA

e-mail: s.van-der-vynckt@ unesco.org

 
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The Pacific
 
In the past few months, several Education for All activities have taken place in the Pacific. The Dakar Forum was on the agenda of the 10th Biennial Consultation of Pacific Directors and Senior Education Officers held in Nauru, 23 to 28 August 2000. It was decided that UNESCO Apia would continue to lead the work to help with national Education for All plans, in close co-operation with UNDP and UNICEF.
 
This summer, UNESCO Apia in collaboration with the UNESCO Institute for Statistics organized a training session on data collection, management and use, which was attended by two people from each of the sixteen countries in the Pacific.
 
The Pacific EFA 2000 Assessment report is currently being improved to make it a base-line document for the work ahead. This revised document will be a valuable aid for countries when they are working with bilateral and multilateral donors.
 
Dakar follow-up and the development of national action plans will also be on the agenda of the meeting of Pacific Ministers of Education scheduled to take place in March next year. UNESCO Apia is preparing a briefing paper for the ministers and has set aside funding for assistance with the development of national plans. This assistance will begin before the meeting in March so that some Ministers will be able to lead the discussion with knowledge and enthusiasm.
Contact: Edna Tait, Director, UNESCO Apia
e-mail: e.tait@unesco.org
 
Arab States:
 
The first meeting to discuss follow-up action to the Dakar Forum in the Arab region is scheduled to take place in UNESCO Beirut on 21 October 2000.
 
Contact: Victor Billeh, Director, UNESCO Beirut
e-mail: v.billeh@unesco.org
 
Hot off the press: the Final Report of the World Education Forum
 
The Final Report of the World Education Forum will be available in English, French and Spanish by the end of this week. It will be available shortly on the World Education Forum website at: http://www.education.unesco.org and will be published in Arabic, Chinese and Russian later this year.
 
Information Contact: Anne Muller (a.muller@unesco.org)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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)