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Press releases > Dakar 28/04/2000
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181 GOVERNMENTS ADOPT FRAMEWORK
FOR ACTION AT THE WORLD EDUCATION FORUM
 
  Dakar, Senegal, 28 April - Delegates from 181 countries today adopted a Framework for Action committing their governments to achieve quality basic education for all, with a particular emphasis on girls education and a pledge from donor countries and institutions that "no country seriously committed to basic education will be thwarted in the achievement of this goal by lack of resources."
 
  The 1,500 participants at the World Education Forum emphasized that while there had been significant progress in many countries, it is not acceptable that more than 113 million children (mostly girls) have no access to primary education, 880 million adults are illiterate, gender discrimination continues to permeate education systems and the quality of learning falls short of the needs of societies.
 
  The Dakar Framework addresses the challenges of the twenty-first century by focusing on the importance of girls' education, quality learning and reaching those who continue to be excluded from education (girls, working children, children of ethnic minorities, and children affected by violence, conflict, disabilities and HIV/AIDS).
 
  Education was defined as a fundamental human right and the key to sustainable development and peace. The participating governments committed themselves to achieve the following goals:
 

1) Expand and improve comprehensive early childhood care and education, especially for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children.
2) Ensure that by 2015 all children, especially girls, children in difficult circumstances, and from ethnic minorities have access to and complete free and compulsory primary education of good quality.
3) Ensure that the learning needs of all young people are met through equitable access to appropriate learning and life skills programmes.
4) Achieve a 50 per cent improvement in levels of adult literacy by 2015, especially for women as well as equitable access to basic and continuing education for adults.
5) Eliminate gender disparities in primary and secondary education by 2005 and achieve gender equality by 2015 - with a special focus on ensuring full and equal access for girls to basic education of good quality.
6) Improve all aspects of the quality of education to achieve recognized and measurable learning outcomes for all-especially in literacy, numeracy and essential life skills.

 
  In order to achieve these goals, the delegates pledged to develop accountable systems of educational governance and management, implement education programmes to combat HIV/AIDS, meet the needs of educational systems affected by armed conflict, create safe and friendly schools, harness new information and communication technologies and systematically monitor the progress towards the goals. They also committed themselves to encourage the participation of civil society in the monitoring and implementation of strategies for educational development.
 
  The strategies will mainly be implemented through existing mechanisms, primarily at the country level. Participating countries will prepare a comprehensive National Educational for All (EFA) Plan by 2002, at the latest, with the consultation of national civil society. The plan will be prepared in the context of wider poverty reduction and development strategies and will, among other things, specify reforms, include mid-term performance indicators and establish budget priorities for achieving the goals no later than 2015. Concrete strategies for those currently excluded from education will be identified.
 
  Regional activities to support national efforts will be based on existing regional and sub-regional organizations, networks and initiatives, and may be augmented when necessary. The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) will serve as the Secretariat, whereby the UNESCO Director General will annually convene a small mobilizing group of highest level leaders from governments, civil society and development agencies.
 
  Gene Sperling, economic adviser to the President of the United States, announced at the Forum today that his government will increase by 50% its bilateral funding for basic education this year. He further said that the US administration will expand debt relief to countries that make a commitment to basic education, as well as insist that the final Dakar Framework of Action be a top priority at the upcoming G-7 summit in Okinawa, Japan. It was estimated that an additional USD8 billion a year in cost was necessary to achieve EFA.
 
  The World Education Forum was a follow-up to the World Conference on Education for All, which was convened in Jomtien, Thailand in March 1990. It synthesized the results of a two year Education for All Assessment which was conducted in 181 countries by national teams in co-ordination with advisory groups from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UNESCO, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Bank, bilateral donor agencies, development banks and inter-governmental organizations.
 
  Heads of State and key decision makers from 181 countries participated in the Dakar Forum, along with representatives from more than 100 international and grassroots NGOs. The convenors of the Dakar meeting were UNDP, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNICEF, and the World Bank. Participants included Kofi Annan, the United Nations Secretary-General; Peter Piot, Executive Director of UNAIDS; Mark Malloch Brown, Administrator of UNDP; Koichiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO; Carol Bellamy, Executive Director of UNICEF; Nafis Sadik, Executive Director of the UNFPA; and James Wolfensohn, President of the World Bank.
 
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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