News bulletin board of UNESCO's Education Sector
No. 8
 
 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 (13 November 2000)

- News on the Working Group on Education for All

- Internal UNESCO mobilization for Dakar follow-up

- Memorandums of Understanding between UNESCO and UNICEF

- Donation of Finland to UNESCO's Education for All process

- Technical seminar on NGO contributions to the Education for All efforts in sub-Saharan Africa

- Global strategy on AIDS, schools and education under preparation

- Regional up-date on EFA activities

- Dakar follow-up on the agenda

Attachment in this issue:

- Report on the recent meeting of the Inter-Agency Working Group on AIDS, schools, and education (prepared by UNICEF)

 

 

News on the Working Group on Education for All
 
Preparations for the first meeting of the Working Group on Education for All to take place at UNESCO headquarters in Paris from 22 to 24 November 2000 are well underway. Some forty individuals representing countries, regional organizations, and national and international non-governmental organizations, as well as bilateral and multilateral donor agencies, will be present. UNESCO's Director-General, Koïchiro Matsuura, will give the keynote address at the meeting. A number of observers including permanent delegations to UNESCO will also be present.
 
A series of presentations are foreseen in the agenda. They fall into three different groups:
 
Presentations by regions, countries and national non-governmental organizations on what has happened in the area of Education for All since the World Education Forum in Dakar
 
Presentation of flagship programmes focusing on six core areas of Education for All: the United Nations Girls' Education Initiative, Early Childhood Education and Development, HIV/AIDS prevention, Focusing Resources on Effective School Health (FRESH), Education in Emergency and Crisis, and Teachers and the Quality of Education.
 

Presentation of papers discussing three key issues related to the Dakar follow-up:

Integration of Education for All plans in wider national and international plans and policy frameworks

Mobilizing of international financial support for Education for All

Monitoring of Education for All goals and targets

 
The Working Group will also give recommendations on how to sustain the EFA momentum and advice on the organization of the informal high-level group to meet in April 2001.
 
All presentations will be made available on UNESCO's website. The next issue of the Bulletin Board will report on the Working Group meeting.
 
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Internal UNESCO mobilization for Dakar follow-up
 
UNESCO's Director-General last week requested all substantive sectors of the Organization to present an integrated proposal for follow-up activities to the Dakar Forum before the end of the year. He also said that at least 5 per cent of these sectors' budgets must go to Dakar follow-up action.
 
The request came during a meeting of UNESCO's Strategic Group on Dakar follow-up on 9 November 2000. The group comprising Assistant Directors-General, Directors of UNESCO Institutes, division directors in the Education Sector and directors of regional offices, was established last April to ensure that the Dakar Framework for Action is reflected in all relevant UNESCO activities. .
 
Presentations during the meeting indicated that sectors have already started to reflect on how to integrate the Dakar Framework into their work plans. The Natural Sciences Sector, for example, is linking EFA to the follow-up action to the 1999 World Conference on Science, while the Social and Human Sciences Sector is looking into how knowledge is being created and its relation to identity, ideology, etc.
 
Three papers were presented during the meeting: a draft strategy paper on education and HIV/AIDS, outlining UNESCO's position in this area (prepared by the International Institute for Educational Planning), a regional action programme for mitigating HIV/AIDS in the education and training sector in the Southern African region and a draft strategy on how to link education for all to the follow-up to the 1998 World Conference on Higher Education.
 
 
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Memorandums of understanding between UNESCO and UNICEF
 
UNESCO and UNICEF have in the past two weeks signed two memorandums of understanding, one concerning Dakar follow-up activities in Central and West Africa and another on EFA in Latin America and the Caribbean.
 
In Central and West Africa, the respective UNESCO and UNICEF regional offices will facilitate the formation of national EFA forums, support the generation of national EFA plans of actions, strengthen donor co-ordination to avoid duplication and fragmentation, encourage effective participation of non-governmental organizations, promote country participation in the EFA flagship programmes, and finally, explore new opportunities for co-operation.
 
In Latin America and the Caribbean, the memorandum of understanding sets out the practical modalities of a joint effort to promote the fifth Ministerial meeting and the follow-up to the Dakar conference. Activities include the production, translation and distribution of the technical document for the Ministerial Meeting and communication materials for EFA mobilization, as well as the organization of a meeting of non-governmental organizations in 2001.
 
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Donation of Finland to UNESCO's Education for All process
 
Following the recent 160th session of UNESCO's Executive Board, Finland has decided to give 2 million Finnish marks (some US$270,000) to UNESCO's Dakar follow-up activities. Another 3 million Finnish marks have been given to UNESCO's International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP) and the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC).
 
"This is great news," says Jacques Hallak, Assistant Director-General for Education a.i. "We hope that this gesture will inspire other donor agencies to support our efforts in reaching the Education for All goals."
 
 
UNESCO is currently negotiating with several other bilateral donor agencies to mobilize funding for the Education for All process.
 
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Technical seminar on NGO contributions to the Education for All efforts in sub-Saharan Africa
 
Some seventy participants from non-governmental and civil society organizations, Ministries of Education, bilateral donors and United Nations organizations will meet in Bamako, Mali, from 29 November to 2 December 2000 to discuss strategies to reinforce and expand the contributions of non-governmental organizations to the Education for All efforts in sub-Saharan Africa. .
 
The seminar is jointly organized by UNESCO, the World Bank and members of the Collective Consultation of NGOs on Literacy and Education for All with the support of the ADEA Working Group on Non-formal Education and other partners.
 
 
The seminar takes place within the framework of the United Nations Special Initiative and will follow the conference of the Heads of State of Burkina Faso, Chad, Guinea, Mali, Niger and Senegal (27 November 2000, also in Bamako). The Heads of State conference will explore how to accelerate the education for all agenda in these six French-speaking countries. These countries have some of the lowest school enrolment and retention rates in the world.
 
Contact: Susanne Schnüttgen, UNESCO
e-mail: s.schnuttgen@unesco.org
 
 
Global strategy on AIDS, schools and education under preparation
 
 
The flagship programme on HIV/AIDS and education is now taking form. The UNAIDS Inter-agency Working Group (IAWG) on AIDS, schools and education met in Geneva 1-3 November 2000 to discuss a global strategy framework on this issue. The working group focused on developing guidelines along two main tracks of action: a) responding to the impact of HIV/AIDS on the education sector, and b) implementing HIV/AIDS prevention for school-aged children and young people, especially in schools, but also considering non-formal approaches. Initial indicators for each guideline/activity were also drafted. These will need to be discussed and revised accordingly.
 
For the first time, IAWG expanded participation to comprise other than United Nations agencies, including key bilateral donor agencies, international non-governmental organizations, teachers' unions and education associations. Twenty-six participants attended the meeting. IAWG is expected to report on progress regarding the development of the global strategy to the next meeting of UNAIDS's Programme Coordinating Board in early December.
 
UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS launched in 1996, is sponsored by UNDP, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNICEF, WHO and the World Bank.
 
UNICEF contributed the attached report on the IAWG meeting in early November 2000. The report exists in English only.
 
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Regional up-date on EFA activities
 
Africa (1)
 
Senior government representatives responsible for EFA from Cape Verde, Gambia, Liberia, Senegal and Sierra Leone met in Dakar 30 - 31 October 2000 to discuss the practical aspects of preparing their national action plans to meet the 2002 deadline foreseen in the Dakar Framework for Action.
 
 
Participants confirmed their governments’ commitment to increasing funding to education, expanding the provision of educational services, recruiting more teachers and working closely with non-governmental organizations to realize the goals of Education for All.
 
The cost to each participant country of drawing up national action plans varies from some US$36,000 to US$100,000 depending on the stage of preparation. For example, the war-torn countries Liberia and Sierra Leone require more financial support than the others. The Director of UNESCO Dakar confirmed that his office, in co-operation with other EFA partners, will support this exercise both technically and financially. The process has already started.
 
Participants agreed that, if the commitment of stakeholders, decision-makers, parents and teachers’ unions were essential for success, decentralization was equally vital because of its potential to mobilize the population and to overcome socio-cultural resistance.
 
Africa (2)
 
UNESCO Dakar is organizing a meeting with all UNESCO offices in Africa, with relevant UNESCO Institutes and the follow-up mechanism to VII MINEDAF to discuss the kind of support UNESCO can best offer in the region for the Dakar follow-up. The meeting will take place in Dakar from 4 to 5 December 2000.
 
"It is an opportunity for all of us to consolidate our work plans and assure that they reflect the priorities set by the Organization for integrating the Dakar Follow-up into our programme activities," says Armoogum Parsuramen, Director of UNESCO Dakar.
 
Contact: Armoogum Parsuramen, Director of UNESCO Dakar
e-mail: a.parsuramen@unesco.org
 
Central Asia
 
Central Asia is now moving ahead with follow-up activities to the World Education Forum. The first of five national roundtables was organized by UNESCO in collaboration with UNICEF in Turkmenistan in late September. The remaining four will be organized in the near future in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
 
All countries are eager to move forward the EFA agenda," says Jorge Sequeira, Director of UNESCO Almaty. "We are there to trigger the process and make sure that the Dakar Framework for Action is known and implemented by all".
 
The objectives of the roundtables are to consolidate and expand the existing national working groups on EFA, to present the Dakar Framework for Action to relevant senior personnel, to provide technical guidance to countries so that they can adapt and harmonize national education plans to the Dakar Framework and to formulate national EFA plans of action.
 
Following the national roundtables, a subregional consultation will be organized during the first quarter of 2001. The purpose of this consultation will be to identify and validate the topics for a subregional strategy for EFA, including common issues and constraints such as early childhood care and development, textbook management and production, quality of education and curriculum review.
 
The Dakar Framework for Action and the country guidelines on the preparation of EFA national plans of action have been translated into the national languages as well as into Russian.
 
Contact: Jorge Sequeira, Director of UNESCO Almaty
e-mail: j.sequeira@unesco.org
 
South Asia
 

The UNESCO offices in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan (three of the world's nine high-population countries (E-9) have agreed to intensify their co-operation on Dakar follow-up activities. Each office has taken the lead to organize training seminars and workshops on one or several of the following subjects:

The quality of learning and measuring learning achievement (UNESCO Islamabad).

Curriculum development and change (UNESCO New Delhi).

Planning and management of basic education (UNESCO New-Delhi in close co-operation with UNESCO's International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP).

Literacy and non-formal education (UNESCO Dhaka).

The first preparatory meeting to map out modalities and scope of training seminars for India-based activities will take place in New Delhi on 30 November 2000.
 
The first South Asia Meeting of Ministers of Education to review decisions taken in the context of Dakar follow-up is scheduled to take place in February 2001.
 
Contacts: Prof. Moegiadi, Director of UNESCO New Delhi
e-mail: uhndl@unesco.org;
P. Kasaju, Director of UNESCO Islamabad
e-mail: unesco@isb.compol.com
A. Khan, Director of UNESCO Dhaka
e-mail: dhaka@unesco.org.
 
East Asia
 
A preliminary proposal for Dakar follow-up activities in East Asia, submitted by UNESCO's regional office in Bangkok, outlines how the Internet can serve as the main vehicle for disseminating information on EFA.
 
UNESCO Bangkok proposes to elaborate on the already existing EFA website http://www.unescobkk.org/infores/efa2000/index.htm by including information on monitoring activities, a section on 'best practices and success stories', a platform for exchanging of information between bilateral and multilateral partners in the region, links to websites of EFA partners and other sources of information, as well as a discussion forum.
 
Moreover, the proposal suggests that UNESCO Bangkok will serve as a clearing house for EFA materials, especially by creating a data-base on national and subregional EFA programmes. Finally, the Office proposes to provide training in "information repackaging", which will enable countries to translate EFA data into forms that can be easily digested and used by policy-makers, researchers and practitioners.
 
Contact: Zhou Nan Zhao, Director of UNESCO Bangkok
e-mail: n.zhou@unesco-proap.org
 
The nine high-population countries (E-9)
 
The E-9 countries (Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria and Pakistan) are currently reviewing their national situation concerning girls' education. The aim is to find out if ambitious plans and programmes match real action, proper mobilization and appropriate funding.
 
The E-9 countries are also looking at the potential of distance education for basic education. National reviews are being analysed and workshops conducted for this purpose. A forthcoming document by UNESCO will focus on what exists and how it works and will include concerns related to cost/benefit analysis of distance education and the question of learning achievement.
 
Contact: Wolfgang Vollmann, E-9 Co-ordinator, UNESCO Paris
e-mail: w.vollmann@unesco.org
 
Dakar follow-up on the agenda
 
The European Commission is organizing an expert group meeting on the follow-up to the Dakar Forum. The meeting will take place on 13-14 November 2000 in Brussels.
 
The next meeting of the taskforce of the United Nations Girls' Education Initiative (UNGEI) took place on 13 November 2000 at the UNHCR Office in New York.
 
(Contact: Maida Pasic, Programme Assistant, UNICEF
e-mail: mpasic@unicef.org)
 
Within the framework of UNGEI, UNESCO is organizing an international Expert Group meeting on gender equality in basic education from 5 to 7 December 2000. The meeting will take place at UNESCO headquarters in Paris. (Contact: Koto Kanno, Programme Specialist, UNESCO
e-mail: k.kanno@unesco.org)
 
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Information Contact: Anne Muller (a.muller@unesco.org)
 
 
 
 
Contact: Anne Muller (a.muller@unesco.org)