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High Level Group to stress urgency of achieving Education for All by 2015

©UNICEF/NYHQ2010-1474/Shehzad Noorani
Children attend class at Kisojo Model Primary School in the town of Kisojo, Kyenjojo District of Uganda.

Progress made so far towards the internationally-agreed Education for All (EFA) goals, and the short period left for countries to reach them, will be the focus of the Tenth High-Level Group Meeting on Education For All (EFA) in Jomtien (Thailand) from 22 to 24 March. It will be opened by Irina Bokova, the Director-General of UNESCO who will call for urgent action to meet the six EFA goals as pledged by the international community in 2000.

Organized by UNESCO and hosted by the Government of Thailand, the High-Level Group on Education For All – composed of Ministers of Education and International Cooperation and representatives of international and regional organizations, civil society and the private sector –  is expected to galvanize strong political and financial support for education, mobilize additional commitments and build a reinvigorated vision of EFA.

Using the findings of UNESCO’s EFA Global Monitoring Report (GMR) 2011 and a set of regional reports, participants will take stock of the progress made over the last two decades and identify strategic and operational initiatives to address remaining challenges in the four years ahead. Additionally, conference participants will look into the future of the EFA agenda beyond 2015.

The meeting comes two decades after the landmark 1990 World Conference on Education for All, also in Jomtien. Twenty years on, countries have made historical advances, particularly in access to primary education. However, progress has been insufficient to deliver on the international commitment to provide quality basic education for all children, young people and adults: 67 million primary school age children are out of school and 796 million adults are still illiterate. Without renewed commitment to education, many countries risk missing the 2015 target.

Education is the driving force of human development and has strong benefits forhealth, employment, poverty reduction, environmental awareness, and civic participation. However, it is too often sidelined in the global political agenda. The current economic downturn and increasing food prices are jeopardizing prospects for educational development.

Established to follow up the 2000 World Education Forum in Dakar (Senegal), the High-Level Group Meeting on Education For All is an annual event convened by UNESCO’s Director General. Its role is to generate political momentum and mobilize financial, technical and political support towards the achievement of the EFA goals initiated ten years ago and the education-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).



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