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Biggest review of education in history
 
  Paris, 22 February 2000 - Leading representatives of governments, non-governmental organizations and the United Nations have completed final steps of the biggest review of education in history. Assessments were carried out by 183 national governments. Results were then reviewed in six regional consultations involving a total of 1,500 leaders (ministers of education, non-governmental officials and donor agencies). The review process will culminate at the World Education Forum, to take place in Dakar, Senegal, 26-28 April 2000.
 
  The results show that although education systems have grown in most areas, quality has not kept pace with quantity. The number of children in school has gone up significantly and many countries have succeeded in getting more girls into school. But the number of children out of school, about 100 million, two-thirds of them girls, has remained at about the levels of a decade ago. Without renewed political commitment to universal primary education, the global goal set in 1990 of having all children in school will not be achieved in a near future.
 
  The data also indicate that an accelerated effort to achieve quality education for all is necessary. A special study in forty countries covering all regions of the world shows that a majority of the countries surveyed did not reach nationally-defined goals of literacy, numeracy and life-skills.
 
  The Steering Committee of the World Education Forum, a fifty-member coalition cutting across sectors and regions, believes that we are living in three worlds of education: the largest one is progressing, the second continues to remain static, and the third is in regression, often associated with crisis or conflict. This poses the challenge for the years ahead: providing quality education for all.
 
  The results of the 183 national assessments, plus 40 case studies compiled by non-governmental organizations, and a significant number of cross-cutting studies, will be summarized and released at the Forum in Senegal. This will be only the second time in history when all the education ministers in the world are invited to focus on global goals for education. Ministers will be joined by a number of heads of state as well as by leaders of the international donor community. An NGO Forum to be organized prior to the main Forum will provide important input to the conference.
 
  As in the preparatory meetings, it is expected that the Dakar Forum will draw leaders from virtually every country. The message will be simple: the world must provide education of good quality to all and, to achieve this goal, new and enhanced partnerships with parents, teachers and community groups are required.
 
   A new Framework for Action based on the results of the worldwide assessment is expected to be adopted at the Dakar meeting. It will call for an acceleration of efforts in education with special attention given to sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. A draft version is currently being discussed in a wide consultation process involving all major Education for All partners.
 
  Education for All is a global movement led by UNESCO, World Bank, UNDP, UNFPA and UNICEF. The Steering Committee for Education for All involves United Nations agencies, bilateral donors, national authorities and non-governmental organizations.
 
For more information:

Mr Svein Osttveit,
Executive Secretary
Education for All Forum
Tel: (33) 1 4568 1524, E-mail: s.osttveit@unesco.org

Ms Maris O'Rourke
Director, Education
The World Bank
Tel: (1 202) 473 1059; E-mail: morourke@worldbank.org

Mr Sheldon Shaeffer
Chief, Education Section
United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
Tel: (1 212) 824 6618; E-mail: sshaeffer@unicef.org

Ms Delia Barcelona

Senior Technical Officer, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
Tel: (1 212) 297 5233; E-mail: barcelona@unfpa.org

Mr Dieter Berstecher
Director, Global Action Programme on Education for All
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
Tel: (33) 1 4568 2124; E-mail: d.berstecher@unesco.org

Ms Anjimile Mtila Doka
Senior Advisor, Social Analysis and Policy
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Tel: (1 212) 906 6023; E-mail: anjimile.mtila.doka@undp.org
 
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