Worldwide, about 115.4 million children of primary school age (56 percent of them girls) are still unable to attend school for a variety of reasons. Of these children who are not enrolled in schools, 37 percent live in Sub-Saharan Africa, 34 percent live in Southwest Asia, and 13 percent live in East Asia and Oceania.
Moreover, 862 million people throughout the world remain illiterate. The adult literacy rate stood at around 70 percent in 1980, and although this had improved to 80 percent by 2000, the high population growth rate over this 20-year period meant that there was only a small decrease in the total number of illiterate adults. Because two-thirds of illiterate adults around the world are female, empowering women through addressing this problem along with the problem of primary school enrollment is one of the keys to reducing poverty nation-building.
esponding to this serious situation, the World Education Forum was held in Dakar, S enegal, in April 2000. About 1500 individuals representing 181 countries and territories, and 31 international organizations, NGOs, and other organizations attended the forum. The forum adopted the Dakar Framework for Action, whose goals include ensuring that all children have access to and complete free and compulsory primary education by 2015, and eliminating gender disparities in primary and secondary education by 2005. Representatives from both developing countries and developed countries agreed to take action to improve the quality of education and ensure access to education for all in developing countries. In S eptember 2000, the UN Millennium Summit adopted the Millennium Development Goals, which also included specific targets in concrete areas of education, thereby establishing a global trend in education assistance aimed at developing countries.
Excerpt from the brochure "EDUCATION FOR ALL: JAPAN'S ACTION" made up by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Education of Japan.
In this global trend, Japan launched its latest initiative on education assistance (Basic Education for Growth Initiative (BEGIN)) on the occasion of the Kananaskis Summit, held in Canada in June 2002.
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
During the Millennium Summit held in New York in September 2000, all 189 UN Member States adopted the Millennium Declaration, which contained a core group of goals and targets, some of which were later refined through the Roadmap towards the implementation of the United Nations Millennium Declaration: Report of the Secretary General to the General Assembly (A/56/326, September 2001), and have since become known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). These eight goals are essentially centered on national targets for poverty, education, gender equality, and environmental sustainability, but also include targets for establishing an international trade and finance policy framework that favors development. Numerical targets have been set for each goal, most of which are to be achieved by 2015.
Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
- Reduce by half the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day
- Reduce by half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger
Achieve universal primary education
- Ensure that all boys and girls complete a full course of primary schooling
Promote gender equality and empower women
- Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education preferably by 2005, and at all levels by 2015
Reduce child mortality
- Reduce by two thirds the mortality rate among children under five
Improve maternal health
- Reduce by three quarters the maternal mortality ratio
Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
- Halt and begin to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS
- Halt and begin to reverse the incidence of malaria and other major diseases
Ensure environmental sustainability
- Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes; reverse loss of environmental resources
- Reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water
- Achieve significant improvement in lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers, by 2020
Develop a global partnership for development
- Develop further an open trading and financial system that is rule-based, predictable and non-discriminatory. Includes a commitment to good governance, development and poverty reduction-nationally and internationally
- Address the least developed countries¡Ç special needs. This includes tariff- and quota-free access for their exports; enhanced debt relief for heavily indebted poor countries; cancellation of official bilateral debt; and more generous official development assistance for countries committed to poverty reduction
- Address the special needs of landlocked and small island developing States
- Deal comprehensively with developing countries¡Ç debt problems through national and international measures to make debt sustainable in the long term
- In cooperation with the developing countries, develop decent and productive work for youth
- In cooperation with pharmaceutical companies, provide access to affordable essential drugs in developing countries
- In cooperation with the private sector, make available the benefits of new technologies-especially information and communications technologies
Education for All (EFA)
The Education for All movement took off at the World Conference on Education for All in 1990 (Jomtien, Thailand). Since then, governments, non-governmental organizations, civil society, bilateral and multilateral donor agencies and the media have taken up the cause of providing basic education for all children, youth and adults.
Dakar Framework for Action
In April 2000 more than 1,100 participants from 164 countries gathered in Dakar, Senegal, for the World Education Forum. They adopted the 2000-word Dakar Framework for Action, Education for All: Meeting Our Collective Commitments. The following goals are collectively commited to be attained:
- 1. expanding and improving comprehensive early childhood care and education, especially for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children;
- 2. ensuring that by 2015 all children, particularly girls, children in difficult circumstances and those belonging to ethnic minorities, have access to and complete free and compulsory primary education of good quality;
- 3. ensuring that the learning needs of all young people and adults are met through equitable access to appropriate learning and life skills programmes;
- 4. achieving a 50 per cent improvement in levels of adult literacy by 2015, especially for women, and equitable access to basic and continuing education for all adults;
- 5. eliminating gender disparities in primary and secondary education by 2005, and achieving gender equality in education by 2015, with a focus on ensuring girls' full and equal access to and achievement in basic education of good quality;
- 6. improving all aspects of the quality of education and ensuring excellence of all so that recognized and measurable learning outcomes are achieved by all, especially in literacy, numeracy and essential life skills.
BEGIN: Basic Education for Growth Initiative
BEGIN is launched by the Japanese Government to support efforts by developing countries to promote basic education. Following is a summary of BEGIN.
- Emphasis on a commitment by the governments of developing countries and support of ownership
- Recognition of cultural diversity and promotion of mutual understanding
- Assistance based on collaboration and cooperation with the international community (partnership)
- Promotion of community involvement and the utilization of local resources
- Linkages with other development sectors
- Utilization of Japan's experience in education
- Assistance for ensuring Access to education
⋅Construction of school buildings and related facilities serving various needs
⋅Assistance for elimination of gender disparities (girls' education)
⋅Assistance for non-formal education (promotion of literacy education)
⋅Active utilization of information and communication technology (ICT)
- Assistance for improving Quality of education
⋅Assistance for science and mathematics education
⋅Assistance for teacher training
⋅Assistance for improvement of school administration and operation
- Improvement of Management of education
⋅Enhancement of support for formulation of education policies and education development plans
⋅Assistance for improvement of educational administration system
3.New Efforts by Japan
- Utilization of in-service teachers and establishment of "cooperation bases"
- Promotion of wide-ranging collaboration with international frameworks
⋅Support to UNESCO
⋅Support to UNICEF
⋅Consideration on World Bank's Fast Track Initiative
⋅Participation in the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA)
- Support for education for post-conflict nation-building