20.03.2013 - UNESCO Office in Dakar

'Big Push' to accelerate Education for All in Africa

Children ready for school in Soucouta, a village on the west coast of Senegal ©UNESCO/Anne Müller

Numerous African countries have expressed their willingness to engage in the process of accelerating progress towards the Education for All goals before 2015. The first group of eight countries are meeting from 20-23 March 2013 in Dakar, Senegal. They are Angola, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, Lesotho, Niger, Senegal, Swaziland and Zambia. More countries will follow suit.

Representatives from the eight countries are meeting in Dakar, Senegal from 20-23 March 2013 to develop national plans for the acceleration process, including the mobilization of partners, implementation, monitoring and evaluation, as well as as advocacy.

The 4-day meeting includes a rich mix of presentations and practical exercises facilitated by a diversity of education partners and stakeholders, who have come together in the endeavour to significantly accelerate progress in selected Education for All goals.

Practical guidance, group work, and simulations will enable participants to fully grasp the processes. The aim is that they will return to their respective countries and engage in immediate action, refocusing activities and resources as necessary, within the framework of existing sector plans and processes.

"We need to act now. Education for All is still an unfinished agenda," says Ann Therese Ndong-Jatta, Director of UNESCO's Regional Office in Dakar. "Despite significant progress in education in most African countries, evidence indicate that if current trends continue, the Education for All goals will not be reached by most African countries by 2015".

31 countries won't make it

According to country profiles developed by UNESCO Dakar Office in 2012, at least 31 of 44 African countries will not achieve the goals of Education for All by 2015.

"The good news is that 12 countries have a chance to achieve the goals if actions are taken in this regard," adds Ndong-Jatta. "We want to assist countries improve their EFA status by engaging in a viable acceleration processes from 2013 to 2015".

The UNESCO Director adds that armed conflict and successive financial crises are the main obstacles to delivering on the Education for All promise.

A last 'Big Push'

Education Ministers committed to a last ‘Big Push’ to accelerate efforts to reach the goals by 2015, at the Global Education for All Meeting held in UNESCO in November 2012. The first group of African countries meet in Dakar. A second group will meet shortly.

The EFA Acceleration Initiative will have five major steps:

  1. Mobilization of high level (minister) political and partners commitment for country engagement in the EFA acceleration process
  2. Provision of technical support for elaboration and validation of national EFA Acceleration Plan
  3. Engage in regular monitoring and evaluation exercises
  4. Disseminate process and lessons learnt to other interested countries
  5. Final evaluation of the acceleration process

The acceleration initiative is coordinated by a committee of UNESCO, UNICEF, ADEA, ANCEFA, FAWE, Save the Children and CONFEMEN.

It is supported by UNESCO and particularly its Regional Office in Dakar, with a strengthened partnership that includes the African Union, Regional Economic Communities, the United Nations agencies, intergovernmental organizations, and representatives of civil society and the private sector.

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