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Press releases > Bamako /28/11/2000
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IN BAMAKO, SIX AFRICAN COUNTRIES COMMIT TO REINFORCING EDUCATION FOR ALL
 
  Bamako, November 28 - The Heads of State of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali and Niger, as well as the Prime Minister of Guinea and the deputy minister in charge of early childhood issues for Senegal, resolved to make education for all a national priority, at a conference organized by UNESCO and the World Bank in Bamako (Mali) on November 26 within the framework of the follow-up to last April’s World Education Forum in Dakar, Senegal.
 
  The six countries-which have some of the lowest school enrolment rates in the world-announced they will reinforce Education for All notably through a significant increase in funding allocated to education. They resolved to allocate at least four percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) toward education from now through the year 2015, as opposed to between one to three percent of GDP at present. They also decided to grant 50 percent of their education budgets to the development of basic education and "to undertake reforms for the redefinition of priorities, the reallocation of budgets and the sharing of responsibilities in education between the State, communities and organizations, within the framework of a decentralized management that reinforces the autonomy of schools, while underlining the responsibility of the State to finance education."
 
 The five countries of the Sahel region and Guinea decided "to make education a national cause which mobilizes the various sectors, in particular the principal actors and partners in education like teachers’ unions, parents’ associations, local communities, grassroots communities, NGOs and the private sector." In addition, they made plans to gradually introduce national languages use into their education systems and to promote their development.
 
 In order to ensure a social mobilization around the reforms to be undertaken, participants at the Bamako conference decided to put in place a "vigorous communication policy". A follow-up mechanism to the Bamako resolution envisages meetings every three years of the Heads of State of the six countries, along with an annual meeting of their personal representatives to evaluate progress made.
 
  The Heads of State also made an appeal in support of "putting in place a consensus to alleviate violence on school and university campuses, as well as to support the realization of new partnerships with external aid agencies based on transparency and a search for maximum effectiveness through the coordination of activities by our governments and a better taking into account of the interests of our countries."
 
 To achieve schooling for all by 2015, between 40 and 50 million dollars in budgetary support are necessary per country and per annum. When resources are made available as a result of measures to lighten the debt burden, these "will be used for at least 40 percent of the financing to achieve universal primary schooling, within the framework of the campaign against poverty ".
 
  President Alpha Oumar Konaré of Mali warned that anticipated results will be irredeemably compromised if budgetary needs are not filled in the coming two to three years. He added that "if education is a right, then to study is a duty". UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura stated that UNESCO "has elaborated a preliminary draft financing strategy aimed at increasing the flow of international assistance to Education for All."
 
 "The discourse on this subject undertaken between diverse multilateral and bilateral partners in order to rationalize the flow of funding into basic education is very encouraging,” the Director-General said. “This should allow us to raise awareness among all the partners and contribute to the improvement of mechanisms to deliver assistance, statistical evaluations, and to monitor the implementation and coordination among donors."
 
  Representatives from UNICEF and the World Bank renewed their commitments made at the Dakar Forum last April, affirming their support for national plans of action to reinforce Education for All.
 
  The conference of Heads of State was preceded by a ministerial meeting held from November 25-26 which brought together Education Ministers of the six countries, Finance Ministers or their representatives, as well as representatives of unions and parent associations, Members of Parliament and representatives of NGOs, USAID and the governments of France and the Netherlands.
 
 
 
For more information:

contact the World Education Forum media co-ordination office
at tel (221) 826 80 52 or (221) 641 8281
or email a.muller@unesco.org
WEBSITE: www.education.unesco.org/efa
 
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