UN Population Division, Department of Economic and Social Affairs,
with support from the UN Population Fund (UNFPA)
************************************************************************ This document has been prepared by the Secretariat of the United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force on the Implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action. For further information please contact the United Nations Population Fund, Task Force on ICPD Implementation, 220 East 42nd Street, New York, NY 10017 USA, or send E-mail to: email@example.com ************************************************************************* GUIDELINES ON BASIC EDUCATION WITH SPECIAL ATTENTION TO GENDER DISPARITIES FOR THE UN RESIDENT COORDINATOR SYSTEM INTRODUCTION 1. In the last five years, following the World Conference on Education for All at Jomtien, Thailand, 1990, four United Nations sponsored world conferences have taken place, each underscoring basic education as a corner stone for human development. These conferences in addition to those held at sub-regional and regional levels have resulted in a multitude of recommendations, declarations and action plans to achieve education for all. The time has come for the United Nations system and the specialized agencies to strengthen inter-agency co-ordination in order to improve the effectiveness of their contributions towards making education for all a reality. 2. Basic education is considered to be the essential learning required by all members of the community to ensure social and economic progress. The ICPD Programme of Action recognizes basic education as an urgent priority and draws attention to its links with demography and social and economic development. It states that "Everyone has a right to education, which shall be directed to the full development of human resources, and dignity and potential, with particular attention to women and the girl child.".... Recognizing that the effectiveness of the implementation of the Programme of Action depends on an inter-disciplinary approach and must fit into a national development context, paragraph 10 of the General Assembly Resolution 49/128, Report on the International Conference on Population and Development, "calls upon the organs of the United Nations system and the specialized agencies to undertake the actions required to give full and effective support to the implementation of the Programme of Action." In response to the resolution, the inter-agency Task Force on the Implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action proposed that its basic education goals be pursued within the United Nations co-ordination system led by the Resident Co-ordinator, and within the context of the World Conference on Education for All (Jomtien), the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (Rio), ICPD (Cairo), the World Summit on Social Development (Copenhagen) and the upcoming Fourth World Conference on Women (Beijing). 3. The Resident Co-ordinator is expected to establish a modality for inter-agency co-operation which would serve as a catalyst for national initiatives in basic education. Such a strategy would recognize UNESCO as the lead agency and the complementary roles of other agencies, foremost among them, UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF, WHO and the World Bank. The guidelines are not intended to be prescriptive and will not hinder individual agencies from pursuing their respective mandates but rather will enhance the complementarity of their programmmes and allow the UN system to contribute more appropriately to the achievement of basic education. In essence, it will facilitate more integrated planning of UN inputs to basic education within a national development framework and will help foster a dialogue between the UN system and governments in achieving the targets for basic education for all. 4. Eliminating disparities between male and female is essential to achieving basic education for all. There is consensus among governments and agencies on the importance of educating girls and women. However, there is still some reserve about committing resources to make this objective a reality. The Resident Co- ordinator should be committed to the elimination of disparities between male and female in basic education. He/she is expected to keep the education of girls and women high on the national agenda through support to advocacy, national dialogue and programmes and projects intended to improve girls' and women's access to good quality basic education. In addition to disparities between male and female, there are disparities associated with poverty, geographical location and ethnicity. It should be recognized that basic education must aim to eliminate inequalities in the society and to promote peace and tolerance among all peoples. 5. The interplay between culture and education influences achievements in basic education, particularly among cultural minorities and disadvantaged groups. Strategies for basic education should seek to capture those aspects of the culture which can be utilized to enhance learning. Support should be given to programmes which allow for the expression and understanding of diverse cultures and the acceptance of cultural differences as they relate to basic education for human development. The Strategies for Co-ordinating Basic Education 6. Already the Statement on the Role and Functioning of the Resident Coordinator System provides a framework in which the co- ordination of substantive areas, such as basic education can be accommodated. The Resident Co-ordinator needs to harmonize three inter-related aspects of planning and programming. They concern: a) governments and national Education For All (EFA) mechanisms, b) the activities/programmes of the various agencies, and c) the inter- national and global priorities for basic education. a) Relationship to government and national EFA mechanisms 7. The primary responsibility for co-ordinating basic education as well as the inputs from bilateral and multilateral organizations rests with the government. But, a co-ordinated, inter-agency group can encourage governments to increase resources to education and to give priority to programmes directed towards improving educational opportunities for girls. Special support would be given to programmes designed to reduce drop-out rates among girls as well as increase their access to good quality education. 8. The Resident Co-ordinator is expected to plan joint working/training sessions with national officials and UN agencies on selected themes/issues related to basic education. This will allow for the exchange of ideas, the consolidation of objectives, the rationalization of activities and the identification of investment priorities. This is particularly critical in the case of major education reforms, policy discussions or major joint- agency initiatives in basic education, which may provide a good opportunity for integration of reproductive health considerations. The United Nations System can play an important role in raising education above narrow sectarian interests and in keeping with a changing socio-economic and cultural environment. 9. The development of practical cost-effective policy and plans for the achievement of quality education for all must be seen as a priority activity in which the United Nations System can assist countries. Whilst the drawing up of such a blue print for achievement of good quality education for all may be seen as a largely technocratic process, the wide acceptance of the blue print as a national programme by a wide spectrum of professional, business and other interests is absolutely essential. b) Relationship to the agencies - the Resident Co-ordinator as a team leader 10. The leadership of the Resident Co-ordinator will be essential in identifying the inter-related areas for support by the UN agencies. Given the various disciplines of the United Nations, an inter-agency approach can create an enabling environment by promoting inter-agency supported studies, programmes and evaluation exercises. It will allow for the timely sharing of experiences, discussions of problems and solutions and the review of progress made. The Resident Co-ordinator should also facilitate inter-change of staff expertise between and among programmes and activities. c) Relationship to basic education - achieving national and global priorities 11. Keeping in mind that the "primary objective of the operational activities for development within the United Nations system is to promote the self-reliance of recipient countries through multilateral cooperation", co-ordination for promoting basic education should seek to release "national energies", to sustain good quality basic education which is accessible to all citizens and which uses local organizations wherever possible. This goes beyond identifying national resources. It requires the creative and imaginative use of such resources to increase the demand and supply of basic education as well as to promote learning achievement which will help learners to understand better and cope with a changing socio-economic environment. It is essential to personal and national development that the expected outcomes of basic education be defined within the national context. 12. An underlying objective for basic education improvements is to bring about change and innovation in the education system. Traditionally changes in education tend to be evolutionary and somewhat slow. Under the leadership of the Resident Co-ordinator, the inter-agency group can be a catalyst for change. Changes for improvements can be put into three categories, those which will: a) need few inputs and are not costly. Normally such changes can be effected through policy and policy dialogue, (for example, increasing the proportion of female teachers recruited to the teaching profession requires a policy decision); b) need small scale funding; c) require large scale financing and for which much programming and planning must be done. Having identified the categories of change, the inter-agency group can assist the government to address them in a timely manner and at a pace which allows development to be sustained by national resources. 13. Education for all is the business of all. Partnerships should be encouraged and simultaneously basic education monitoring mechanisms should be established or strengthened to ensure that standards are maintained. The contribution of the private sector and NGOs should be assisted and encouraged. The active participation of Communities in the provision of their education is of paramount importance and every effort should be made to encourage and recognize their role. At the same time efforts need to be made to bring the quality of education in poor communities on a par with that of more affluent ones. 14. Expanding access to basic education to unserved and under- served groups in ways that are more responsive to local needs (e.g. the establishment of small multigrade schools in remote areas and the provision of good quality non-formal education for youths) should be addressed. Alternative delivery systems for the education of the school age-group should articulate with the education mainstream. Everyone should have access to good quality basic education regardless of their social, cultural, geographic and economic situations. 15. Improving basic education quality has continued to challenge governments and agencies. Basic education is expected to help young people to develop decision-making skills needed for them to function effectively as adults. The implications are that their education must meet their basic learning needs and the teaching and learning process should be participatory so that attitude formation and learning can take place in a meaningful context. The Multi- channel approach (expanding educational opportunities through a range of delivery options - distance learning schemes, traditional media, radio, television, audio tapes, etc.) may be utilized to enrich educational programmes and reach remote and deprived groups. Multi-channel approaches are most effective when there is a supportive environment - one in which the individual is ready to learn and the channel or channels can be maintained. 16. Basic education strategies must be informed by good quality data, an important area for institutional strengthening in the improvement of basic education data management. It is one of the most complex and challenging problems to be addressed in the education sector. Efforts should be made to strengthen the national capacity to improve data sources (starting at the classroom level) and management information systems. All data should be disaggregated according to sex (male and female) to allow for the monitoring of progress on the education of girls and women. Other examples of key areas for strengthening are research and evaluation, supervision and management, and the training of all levels of educational personnel. In all these efforts, attention should be paid to adequate representation of women personnel as well as the elimination of traditional gender biases. 17. Information sharing, the transfer and adaptation of successful experiences within the country would help to promote programmes for the unserved and under-served groups. It is important that information be disseminated through various channels including traditional means and packaged in various forms to allow both literate and illiterate persons to understand the key messages. 18. Adult literacy, skills training and continuing education should be given priority. The Resident Co-ordinator can exercise leadership in supporting the convergence of services, that is, the "bringing together" of health, education, social welfare and agricultural services in a comprehensive whole at the community level. Early childhood care and education should be addressed at the community level with emphasis on the education of parents or caregivers to enhance the overall development of young children. 19. Rigorous monitoring, evaluation and reforms needed to create the required dynamism to achieve education for all targets should be encouraged. A manageable number of key indicators should be identified for assessment. Some areas of concern may be evaluated through sample research. Special attention needs to be given to progress in reaching excluded groups (among them girls and women), educational achievement and non-academic areas such as values and attitudes. It is important to recognize those strategies which have reached their threshold of usefulness and which must be changed, sometimes radically, to foster further improvements. ================================================================ SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY World Declaration on Education for All and Framework for Action to Meet Basic Learning Needs Adopted by the World Conference on Education for All (WCEFA), Jomtien, Thailand, 5-9 March 1990. The main authoritative reference as in the goals and concepts adopted by the World Conference. World Conference on Education for All monographs; I) Education for All: Purpose and Context II) Education for All: An Expanded Vision III) Education for All: The Requirements Final Report: Meeting Basic Learning Needs Inter-Agency Commission (UNDP, UNESCO, UNICEF, World Bank) World Conference on Education for All, Jomtien, Thailand, 1990. The Delhi Declaration on Education for All in the Nine High Population Countries Adopted at the Education for All Summit, New Delhi, India, 12-16 December 1993. UNICEF, UNFPA, UNESCO. The documents (panel proceedings and final report) present the declaration and framework for action to achieve primary education and literacy for all, in the world■s high-population countries; Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria and Pakistan. Final Report: Prospects for Providing Universal Access to Primary Education International Consultative Forum on Education for All, Paris, 4-6 December 1991. Final Report: Quality Education for All International Consultative Forum on Education for All, New Delhi, 8-10 September 1993. The International Consultative Forum is a global mechanism established by the World Conference to promote and monitor progress towards Education for All goals. The Istanbul Declaration and Action Framework Adopted at the First International Congress on Population, Education and Development (ICPED), Istanbul, Turkey, 14-17 April 1993. UNFPA, UNESCO. The declaration focuses on the role of population education in human development with a view to strengthen the integration of population education into both formal and non- formal education systems. Status & Trends: focus on primary schooling UNESCO for the International Consultative Forum on Education for All, 1993 Status & Trends: focus on basic education and development UNESCO for the International Consultative Forum on Education for All, 1994 Beyond Jomtien, Implementing Primary Education for All A. Little, W. Hoppers, R. Gardner, MacMillan Press, London, 1994 A book that offers lessons from six projects designed to promote education for all, which all anticipated much of the Jomtien vision and many of its aims (Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Zambia, Guatemala, Andra Pradesh and Rajasthan in India). Educating All the Children C. Colelough with K. Lewin Oxford University Press, 1992 A study of why a growing number of children remain out of school in developing countries, how this trend can be reversed and what resources and policy changes would be required, nationally and internationally, if schooling for all children were to be achieved by the year 2000. Improving Primary Education in Developing Countries M.E. Lockheed, A. Verspoor and associates World Bank and Oxford University Press, 1991 A comprehensive review of both the scholarly literature and donors■ experience, discussing strategies for improving different aspects of primary education. The book contains a large number of figures and tables and provides data on 129 countries. What are we waiting for? M.B. Anderson UNICEF, N.Y., 1992 A review of the world situation of basic education, including a presentation of some innovative educational programmes, which urges the world to affirm the goals of education for all. Educating Girls and Women, A Moral imperative Education Section, Programme Division, UNICEF, N.Y., 1992 A summary of the magnitude and causes of gender disparities in education, highlighting some possible strategies. The booklet suggests that affirmative action is needed to promote girls■ education and sustainable development. Basic Education and National Development, Lessons from China and India M. Ahmed with Cheng Kai Ming, A.K. Jalaluddin and K. Ramachandran UNICEF, N.Y., 1991 A presentation of policy and strategy lessons for the development of basic education, based on two reviews of progress in basic education in China and India, prepared by two teams of researchers from the respective countries. Investing in the Future: Setting Educational Priorities in the Developing World J. Hallak UNESCO (International Institute for International Planning) and Pergamon Press, 1990 A book primarily addressed to national policy makers, describing how educational policies can be formulated, the priorities for educational development established, and appropriate strategies designed, based on a through understanding of the specific local conditions. ================================================================= AGENCY PROFILES United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) UNESCO is the UN Specialized Agency for Education, Science and Culture. Education for All (EFA) is the undisputed priority area within its vast educational programme. However, UNESCO also works on many aspects and levels of education, which have a bearing on EFA, e.g. the training of teachers, educational planning, educational statistics and indicators, or curriculum development including such specific aspects as population education, environmental education, education for peace and international understanding, or education against AIDS and drug abuse. UNESCO initiated and co-sponsored (with UNDP, UNICEF, UNFPA, the World Bank and other agencies) the World Conference on Education for All (Jomtien 1990) and the Education Summit of Nine High-Population Countries (Delhi, 1993). In the EFA, UNESCO pursues a strategy where primary education, non-formal education programmes and adult literacy are seen as linked and mutually reinforcing. Programmes which aim at expanding access for girls and women, but also for disadvantaged groups and learners with special needs, are complemented by programmes which seek to improve quality and relevance of basic education, and enhance learning achievement. Under its Regular Programme, voted by the General Conference every two years, UNESCO co-operates with Member States in such activities as: organization of training programmes tailored to a country■s requirements; providing technical advice on specific educational questions; carrying out action and policy oriented studies on educational issues; undertaking educational sector work; facilitating policy dialogue and experience exchange between countries in the same region or sub-region. UNESCO also undertakes ■extrabudgetary programmes■ in EFA, typically country-specific operational field projects, but also geared to inter-country co-operation. These tend to be funded by bilateral donors on a funds-in-trust basis. UNESCO also co- operates with UNDP, the World Bank and regional development banks through TSS-1 and TSS-2 arrangements, as well as for the execution of TA components of educational loan programmes. In practice, UN Resident Coordinators may call upon UNESCO■s services either by contacting Headquarters directly, or linking up with the growing number of UNESCO field offices. UNESCO maintains at present 52 field offices with either a country-specific, sub- regional or regional mandate. This field network is being continuously expanded and strengthened. Three UNESCO-affiliated International Education Institutes are also available to work with countries and UN Resident Coordinators: the International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP) in Paris, specialized in training and studies on educational planning: the UNESCO Institute for Education (UIE) in Hamburg, specialized in training and studies on literacy and adult education; the International Bureau of Education (IBE) in Geneva, a worldwide centre of educational documentation and research. Addresses UNESCO Headquarters 7, Place de Fontenoy Basic Education Division 75352 Paris 07 SP Fax: 33 1 40 65 94 05 UNESCO Office for Education 12, avenue Roume, B.P. 3311 in Africa - BREDA Dakar, Senegal Fax: 221 23 83 93 UNESCO Regional Office for Casilla 3187 Education in Latin America Santiago, Chile and the Caribbean - OREALC Fax: 56 2 209 18 75 UNESCO Regional Office for P.O. Box 2270 Education in the Arab States Wadi Saqra, Amman, Jordan - UNEDBAS Fax: 962 6 68 21 83 UNESCO's Principal Regional Prankanong, Post Office Office in Asia & the Pacific P.O. Box 967 - PROAP Bangkok, Thailand Fax: 66 2 391 08 66 IIEP 7-9 rue EugŐne Delacroix 75116 Paris, France Fax: 33 1 40 72 83 66 IBE 15, route des Morillons 1218 Grand Saconnex, Switzerland Fax: 41 22 798 14 86 UIE Feldbrunnenstrasse 58 20148 Hamburg, Germany Fax: 49 40 41 07 723 United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) UNFPA uses a three-pronged approach to create awareness about population issues (IEC activities): Public Information/Advocacy Population Education Population Communication Population Education takes place in both formal and non-formal education and has expanded rapidly since the 60's and its first tentative introduction into the school systems and curricula. One of the main contributions of Population Education has been its emphasis on the teaching of gender issues and the importance of educating girls, which was also highlighted during the EFA Summit of the Nine High Population Countries in New Delhi. UNESCO, with UNFPA funding, is the primary source of international expertise on Population Education for the formal sector. In April 1993, the Istanbul Declaration, adopted at the International Congress on Population, Education and Development, stated that "Population Education should be part of every school■s curriculum along with reading, writing and arithmetic." The 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) adopted a Programme of Action whose principles, goals and recommendations will influence the Fund■s policies and operational work for the coming years. One of its three goals is expanding the availability of education especially for girls and it calls on countries to consolidate the progress made in the 90's towards providing universal access to primary education as agreed upon in Jomtien. According to the holistic approach of the Programme of Action, which makes cooperation within the UN system and outside it crucial to success, UNFPA will undertake strong advocacy in support of girls■ and women■s education and will continue to be an active partner in the EFA initiative together with UNESCO, UNDP, UNICEF and others. Specifically, UNFPA supports: advocacy for the education of girls and the achievement of female education goals as specified in the ICPD Programme of Action, with particular attention to primary and secondary education of girls. Such advocacy spells out those interventions known to promote female enrolment and retention of girls in school, e.g., quality education, female teachers, flexible schedules, incentive programmes for girls' education, female extension workers, etc.; activities to improve the quality and relevance of school curricula through the introduction of population education including gender equity, responsible reproductive behaviour and decision-making skills. International Labour Organisation (ILO) Enhancement of the institutional strengths of constituents to promote social justice and protect workers■ well-being and family welfare through basic education activities of several kinds is a major concern of the International Labour Organisation. In the ILO, therefore, basic education is viewed as a process of developing awareness, knowledge, potential, and skills to contribute in the most efficient manner to the production of goods and services, and to survive in the workplace. ILO programmes accordingly aim to build national capacities for organizing, bargaining and representing the interests of the social partners and for disseminating information and raising awareness on key issues which affect worker status and productivity. They include efforts to promote tripartite participation in policy design and programme implementation and to support trade union activities designed to safeguard and ameliorate conditions of vulnerable groups including women, youth, working children, rural and disabled workers and workers in the informal sector. Activities to promote basic education include technical cooperation projects to develop capacity for designing, planning and organizing educational programmes; provision of advisory services in development of curricula; assistance in the preparation and publication of training materials (manuals, study guides, various forms of teaching aids, etc.), organization of seminars, conferences, workshops; and meeting and provision of grants and fellowships. With regard to basic education on population and reproductive health issues in work settings, there have been successful programmes with ILO's constituents - governments, employers and workers organizations - in more than sixty countries for over quarter of a century. World Food Programme (WFP) Human resources development has always been a priority area of action for the World Food Programme, which since its creation has allocated over 50% of its development food assistance to projects having such objectives. As WFP believes that investment in basic education is one of the most effective tools for human resource development, the vast majority of this type of assistance has been channelled through school feeding programmes. As of December 1994, WFP was providing support to 44 primary school feeding projects, with a total commitment of US$535 million. Besides these currently operational projects, during 1994 new projects were approved which will provide assistance to over one million additional schoolchildren. WFP's assistance to school feeding programmes is tailored to address specific problems in the educational sector in individual countries. Aid is most often aimed at encouraging parents to enrol their children, especially girls, in primary school and to ensure they complete the full cycle. Once children are enrolled in school, feeding plays an essential role by relieving short-term hunger, improving children■s ability to concentrate and to benefit from their education. As school feeding alone cannot ensure gender equality in education, WFP collaborates with Governments, NGOs and other agencies in development of complementary activities to promote basic education for girls. In light of growing evidence of the importance of early stimulation in preparing children for primary school, WFP is exploring possibilities for increasing support to pre-primary education. WFP support to basic education is targeted to the most disadvantaged groups in the countries assisted. In some cases, WFP assistance helps to provide children of extremely poor and marginalized groups the only opportunity for primary education. In pursuing the Programme approach and greater inter-agency collaboration, WFP will continue to seek more innovative ways to use food aid in support of basic education. It is hoped, for example, to increase the coverage of literacy and numeracy training for women in rural development projects, to ensure they are able to put into practice the marketable skills which they learn through such projects' training components. United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) UNICEF policies, strategies and actions in basic education are in harmony with the education objectives of the ICPD. UNICEF strongly and explicitly advocates affirmative action in favour of girls' education. UNICEF country programmes strive to mainstream girls in the formal system by making it more responsive to girls' special needs and concerns. UNICEF also supports nonformal education programmes of equivalent quality. Training of female teachers and administrators; gender sensitization of textbooks, curricula and teacher training materials; mobilizing parents and communities to get involved in the education of girls; and sensitization of the civil society about the benefits of girls■ education are important areas of UNICEF support in basic education. While most of the activities will be at the national level, the regional offices provide technical support in training, curriculum development, collection of gender disaggregated data and monitoring progress. At the global level, UNICEF has been active in the development of policies and strategies and advocacy for them as well as mobilizing resources for girls' education.