Sunday, November 26, 2006

Senegal Hosts Event to Launch the 2007 EFA Global Monitoring Report on Early Childhood

Photo ©UNESCO/Sam Dhillon

From 27-30 November some 80 experts, including African ministers, delegates of UNESCO, UNICEF, and the World Bank will meet at the UNESCO Regional Office in Dakar (BREDA) to discuss the 2007 Report and strategies for developing early childhood care and education (ECCE) in Africa. We are proud to announce that Americans for UNESCO Board Member Emily Vargas-Barón will be a keynote speaker at the event. She will invite nations to consider and debate their options in view of the appalling statistics and few resources for children in the region.

ECCE is considered a missing link in the education chain in many regions of the world. More than half the countries in sub-Saharan Africa do not have a formal program for children under age three and participation in pre-primary education is less than 10%, according to the Report published by UNESCO. Most countries unlikely to reach the EFA goal are located in sub-Saharan Africa, the Arab States and South Asia. Financing, links between education and poverty reduction, the development of national early childhood policies and international partnerships are among the themes on the agenda.

The Report states that targeting resources to the most disadvantaged children should be the first step of a broader national early childhood care and education policy for all children. Based on regional case studies, it emphasizes that strong political endorsement at the highest level can have a considerable impact on the development of ECCE policies. Click here to access full or summary report.

The EFA Global Monitoring Report is an annual publication prepared by an independent team based at UNESCO. It monitors progress towards the six Education for All goals adopted in Dakar, Senegal in 2000:

1) expand and improve early childhood care and education
2) provide free and compulsory universal primary education by 2015
3) equitable access to learning and life-skills programs
4) achieve a 50% improvement in adult literacy rates
5) eliminate gender disparities in primary and secondary education by 2005 and at all levels by 2015
6) improve all aspects of the quality of education

The last day of the meeting will highlight UNESCO’s Plan of Action for accelerating EFA Goal 1 in Africa and regional frameworks, with a concluding plenary on “next steps”. Click here for a detailed agenda of the meeting.

Journalists are invited to participate in the regional launch of the EFA Global Monitoring Report at 9:30 am at the Sofitel-Teranga. The report will not be presented at the press question and answer at 12:45 pm.

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