Monitoring Report on Education for All, 2001

                           

                          Monitoring Report on Education for All, 2001

 

                                              Executive Summary

 

                          This report sets out to monitor progress that countries and agencies have

                          achieved towards the goal of EFA, as well as to highlight important trends and

                          findings and to point to future actions. It assesses the future effort required

                          in terms of additional school places, literacy campaigns, teacher training,

                          educational materials and so on, as well as the magnitude of the financial

                          gap that needs to be closed in order to achieve the goals and targets set for

                          2015.

 

                          The agenda of education for all

 

                          The World Education Forum, meeting in Dakar, Senegal in April 2000,

                          reaffirmed the vision of the World Conference on Education For All (Jomtien,

                          Thailand, 1990) that all children, young people and adults have the

                          'fundamental human right' to a basic education that will develop their talents,

                          improve their lives and transform their societies.

 

                          Representatives of 164 countries adopted the Dakar Framework for Action,

                          which laid out a set of time-bound goals and strategies for attaining the goal

                          of Education for All (EFA) by 2015.

 

                          Three fundamental operating assumptions underlie the strategies outlined in

                          the Dakar Framework:

                          -The heart of EFA activity lies at the national level.

                          - Partnerships are important.

                          - Governments need to co-ordinate their efforts with institutions of civil

                          society.

 

                          Progress since Jomtien

 

                          Universal primary education

                          Considerable progress had been made in moving toward the goal of

                          universal primary education (UPE) and momentum has increased since

                          Dakar. Some countries have achieved dramatic progress. Nevertheless, this

                          progress has been uneven, and a major effort is needed to accelerate

                          current positive trends. There are still more than 100 million children out of

                          school, and 60% of these are girls.

 

                          Overall enrolment trends suggest that, over the last quarter-century,

                          considerable progress has been made in expanding the capacity of primary

                          school systems in all regions of the world. The total number of primary

                          school pupils rose from an estimated 500 million in 1975 to more than 680

                          million in 1998.

 

                          If this pace of increase were to continue, the number of pupils in the world's

                          primary schools could reach 700 million in 2005 and 770 million in 2015. If

                          realized, nearly all of this increased demand for school places would occur in

                          developing regions - in particular in Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

 

                          For most developing countries, school enrolment growth of 5% per year over

                          the next 15 years would meet the EFA goal, but several countries would have

                          to grow at up to 10% annually. At least 32 countries, of which 11 are

                          experiencing conflict, are unlikely to meet the target of UPE by 2015, unless

                          a serious effort is made for these countries.

                          One region of particular concern is sub-Saharan Africa, where enrolment

                          would have to increase at almost three times the effort undertaken during

                          the period 1990-97.

 

                          Gender disparities

                          Over the past decade the progress towards UPE was accompanied by the

                          reduction of gender gaps in all regions except sub-Saharan Africa. While the

                          gender disparity is not a serious concern in most of the Latin

                          America/Caribbean and Eastern Asia/Pacific countries, it remains one in many

                          Arab States, sub-Saharan African and Southern Asian countries. Importantly,

                          gender disparities are most pronounced in regions or countries with relatively

                          low enrolment rates.

 

                          Adult literacy

                          Despite efforts since Jomtien, there are still more than 550 million female

                          and 300 male adult illiterates. The level of education of most adults in

                          developing countries remains too low to enable them to participate effectively

                          in the global economy. Reaching the goals set by Dakar would require an

                          annual increase of 92 million literate adults, or 1.3 times the pace of

                          previous efforts. New ways must be found to reinforce non-formal education

                          systems, especially in developing countries.

 

                          Progress in implementing the Dakar Framework

 

                          National plans of action

                          In requesting that countries 'develop or strengthen existing national plans of

                          action by 2002 at the latest', the Dakar Framework specified standards and

                          conditions for the development of such plans. It stressed that plans should

                          be integrated into a wider development and poverty reduction framework and

                          linked to Common Country Assessments and United Nations Development

                          Assistance Frameworks.

 

                          To date, 66 countries and territories have responded to a UNESCO

                          questionnaire regarding their national plans for accomplishing EFA. Forty-one

                          countries indicated that they have such a plan, but the quality of such plans

                          varies widely. Many of the plans do not conform to EFA guidelines specifying

                          that governments should consult a wide variety of stakeholders in drawing up

                          their plan in order to tie them to overall national development plans.

                          Moreover, many of the plans are not linked to specific EFA goals such as the

                          elimination of gender gaps. Thirty-nine of the plans were prepared before

                          the Dakar Forum, in some cases more than 10 years before, and would need

                          to take note of current developments.

 

                          At least 48 of the 66 countries do not appear to have reliable capacities for

                          data collection, processing and/or analysis for preparing EFA action plans.

 

                          Regional activities

                          In all regions, EFA mechanisms are being set up to co-ordinate the

                          identification of needs, fund-raising, assistance to countries in the

                          development of national action plans and capacity-building of ministries of

                          education. In view of the capacity-building needs, especially in Africa and in

                          South Asia, it would be important to strengthen the technical capability of

                          these mechanisms.

 

                          Inter-Agency flagship programmes

                          Flagship Programmes have emerged that address some of the broad

                          objectives laid out in the Dakar Framework. These programmes bring

                          resources (knowledge and experience) to countries in the implementing of

                          their EFA plans. In key areas, such as HIV/AIDs prevention, school health

                          and girls' education, they are mechanisms for sharing what works and

                          contribute to developing quality education outcomes. They broaden the

                          range of programmes available for young people and contribute to

                          enhancing life-skills.

 

                          Most of the flagship programmes have been launched quite recently, and

                          thus are in the process of being disseminated. Nevertheless, forty-four

                          countries have thus far addressed issues in girls' education in their Common

                          Country Assessments, and twenty-two in their United Nations Development

                          Assistance Frameworks. Initiatives called Focusing Resources on Effective

                          School Health (FRESH), which include capacity-building for school health and

                          HIV/AIDS prevention through schools, have been launched in fourteen

                          sub-Saharan African countries.

 

                          Co-operation with civil society

                          Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) made valuable contributions to the

                          Dakar Framework for Action, and representatives at the Forum committed

                          themselves to 'ensure the engagement and participation of civil society in

                          the formulation, implementation and monitoring of strategies for educational

                          development'. The Dakar Framework consequently emphasized that EFA can

                          be achieved only if it is supported by a broad-based movement that includes

                          civil society organizations (CSOs) ranging from NGOs to teachers' unions and

                          religious organizations. Because of their flexibility, innovation and closeness

                          to the grass roots, such organizations are uniquely qualified to reach

                          marginalized persons who may not be well served by traditional schools.

 

                          At regional and national levels, NGO networks have been strengthened and

                          new ones created. This post-Dakar networking has contributed to the

                          strengthening of NGOs, especially in Africa. These new and stronger networks

                          will give civil society a clearer and more recognizable profile and will enable

                          the expression of joint civil society positions.

 

                          Mobilizing resources for EFA

                          Achieving the ambitious but urgent goal of EFA will require the investment of

                          large amounts of new financial resources. A significant proportion of funding

                          must come from the individual countries themselves through, for example,

                          reallocation and the adoption of cost-effective measures to reach EFA goals.

                          However, most will also need considerable additional outside help.

 

                          The Dakar Framework calls for external assistance on a systematic basis in

                          the form of the creation of a 'global initiative' to fund the financial resources

                          necessary for the realization of the goal of EFA. This initiative has been

                          launched in a context of decreasing and softening donor contributions to

                          international development. Aid allocations have been on the decline in all

                          regions except for Europe, Central and East Asia and the Pacific during the

                          1990s. The trend for the least developed countries has been downward in

                          recent years. Sub-Saharan Africa has witnessed the sharpest decline by

                          roughly one-third. Some of the major aid providers are responsible for some

                          of the largest reductions. Moreover, during the 1990s, non-concessional

                          funds gained importance over concessional disbursements.

                          Given the urgency of reaching the goals of EFA, this decline of contributions is

                          disturbing.

 

                          Major challenges that lie ahead

 

                          Funding the global initiative

                          Estimates of the cost of achieving UPE range from US$8 to $15 billion

                          annually. While these sums are significant, the key message is that UPE is

                          affordable. Moreover, there is evidence that, once an initial surge of

                          enrolments has moved through the system, developing countries should be

                          able to sustain such a system with declining external support.

 

                          While increased funding and the reversal of recent trends toward declining

                          official development assistance are necessary to accomplish the goals of EFA,

                          this will not be sufficient in and of itself. Other important objectives are to

                          assure greater predictability in the flow of external assistance and to provide

                          debt relief and/or cancellation.

 

                          Assessing and funding national plans of action

                          During 2002, most countries will still need to develop or adjust the existing

                          national plans of action to EFA objectives. And most developing countries

                          have indicated that they would require methodological and technical support

                          for the preparation of the EFA plans or the strengthening of existing plans.

 

                          Ways must be devised to provide countries with the technical and financial

                          assistance they need to develop national EFA plans of action. Criteria and

                          mechanisms must be established for reviews of these plans at the national,

                          sub-regional and regional levels.

 

                          Improved monitoring of EFA goals and targets

                          Progress toward EFA must be carefully measured. It is important to assist

                          developing countries in developing the capacity to assess progress toward

                          EFA, including the identification of inequalities within these nations. UIS

                          should be encouraged in its review of core indicators for EFA and to develop

                          indicators for early childhood care and education and non-formal education.

                          Better information must also be developed and disseminated on 'what works'

                          in various contexts.

 

                          Increased co-operation at the national level

                          Research over the past decade has consistently found that increased

                          education spending is a necessary but not sufficient requirement for

                          educational progress. Pragmatically, this means an end to 'business as

                          usual'. Attainment of the Dakar goals will require significant policy changes at

                          the national, regional and international levels and - perhaps most important

                          of all - a willingness of the various stakeholders to enter into new

                          partnerships, especially new relationships between government and civil

                          society.