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Education for All (EFA)

EFA really is for ALL

The six EFA goals stress that everyone should benefit from basic education – from young children in the family context and in pre-school programmes, to primary-school children, to adolescents, young people and adults – either through either formal secondary, technical and vocational education or non-formal adult education and learning, including skills training.

Learning does not always happen in formal situations. It begins well before primary school and continues throughout life, families and communities must be encouraged not only to create environments that encourage education but get involved at all stages so as to ensure its relevance and quality.

Besides integrating reading and writing into everyday life, the innovative Females for Families programme has transformed rural Egyptian girls into community leaders.

After training, the girls establish family-based literacy classes in local homes in the village of Abu-Ashur. They address daily problems, teach villagers new skills, discuss health and family planning and encourage drop-outs to return to school.

The Governorate of Ismailia, Egypt won the 2010 UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy for this innovative project which has changed the way women are perceived in public life. Read about this and other 2010 UNESCO Literacy prize winners

A good example of informal learning is community learning centres. Operating outside the formal education system, they are usually set up and managed by locals in order to provide learning opportunities for people of all ages who have few opportunities for education, for example, pre-school children, out-of-school children, women, youth, and the elderly. They are particularly widespread in Asia.

In a Community Learning Centre in a remote village in Madurai district of Tamil Nadu state, India, Anu, a grandmother, has learned how to read and write with the help of modern information and communication technologies through a UNESCO project. Other members of her literacy course range from teenagers to older members of the community such as Anu, who is 65 years old.