Education for All (EFA)


Since 1990, achieving "Education for All" has been a global commitment to provide all children, youth and adults with quality basic education in order to reduce massively illiteracy. International community has affirmed its commitment to achieve it by 2015. In order to meet the education needs of children, youth and adults, it is necessary to:

1. Expand early childhood care and education;

2. Provide free and compulsory primary education to all children;

3. Promote learning among youth and adults and provide them with necessary skills for their lives;

4. Increase the level of adult literacy by 50%;

5. Achieve gender parity by 2005 and gender equality by 2015;

6. Improve the quality of education. UNESCO has been mandated to coordinate international efforts to reach these goals.

Example: Sub-Saharan Africa 

France cooperates with UNESCO to promote the implementation of better diagnostic tools and more effective planning for achieving the EFA goals. The project was implemented by the “Dakar Pole” and has allowed for the production of a regional report: “Education for All in Africa: paving the way for action”. It also contributed to the methods of statistical and financial assessments adopted for constructing sectoral policies in the following countries: Cameroon, Congo, Guinea, Mali, Senegal, and Tchad. Furthermore, a regional capacity building seminar on sector policies in education was organized for representatives from Benin, Chad, Congo, Mali, Maroc and Niger. 

Example: Somalia

The decrease of knowledge is due to the long civil war and to the collapse of education system. Enrollment rates in Somalia are the weakest in the world.  

In 2004, United Nations launched an appeal for Somalia to which the Department of International Development of the United Kingdom responded by funding the following projects:

  • Production, printing and distribution of school books for 7th and 8th grades;
  • Development of guidebooks for teachers; 
  • Strengthening of evaluation systems and exams.

© UNESCO/ Roya Aziz/Star Group

Example: Afghanistan

In 2007, UNESCO and Japan signed an Agreement to provide funding for literacy education benefiting to about 300 000 illiterate people, mainly women, in 9 Afghan provinces.

Afghan Ministry of Education has developed an education plan with 8 priority actions, including literacy.

Despite the efforts since the fall of Taliban government in 2001 illiteracy rate remains among the highest in the world. There are glaring discrepancies between urban and rural areas on one hand, and between men and women, on the other. The literacy rate was estimated at 34% in 2004 for those aged 15 years and over (50% for men and 18% for women). In rural areas, home to 74% of the population, almost 90% of women and 63% of men are unable to read or write. These figures rank Afghanistan alongside countries such as Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali.

Example: Ethiopia

Since 2003, UNESCO and Italy have been strengthening their cooperation in the field of Education for All in various countries in Africa. In Ethiopia the project supported Government’s Alternative Basic Education Programme (ABE) for underserved areas with low enrolments. The project activities included:

  • Provision of low cost construction material for low cost community-base ABE learning centres;
  • Preparation, adaptation and publication of ABE facilitator’s guidebooks and training in the use of the guidelines;
  • Distribution of guides and textbooks;
  • Development of indicators and methodologies for monitoring and evaluating the implementation of ABE programme and students achievement.
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