Strategies to achieve the education targets
Priorities for governments and civil society
Priorities for the international community
4.1 Achieving the education targets will require governments to place basic education at the heart of their development policies. The international community will also need to give priority to UPE in their support for national poverty reduction plans and programmes.
4.2 There is no single short-term solution, no one strategy that ensures success. A combination of measures is required, backed by a collective commitment to sustain support for Education for All.
4.3 There is a growing body of knowledge on the importance of primary education and gender equality for poverty reduction. Strong international commitments have been given to the achievement of UPE. The practical experience of countries that have given weight to UPE in their development policies and resource allocations offers valuable comparative data. Together, knowledge, commitment and know how point to ten key priorities, addressed primarily but not exclusively to governments.
Priority 1: Ensuring strong government commitment including increased resources forprimary education
4.4 The governments of developing countries have prime responsibility for formulating and implementing strategies for UPE and gender equality. Much depends on the political will to make the hard choices necessitated by resource constraints, manifested in a broad-based policy response to poverty which accords appropriate priority to education, and to basic education in particular. Sustained government commitment to Education for All is more likely to come about if there is a strong voice for UPE from its citizens. Governments and representatives of civil society have the responsibility to enable all citizens to have an effective voice in the development of policies and strategies that will ultimately lead to sustainable UPE.
4.5 One clear demonstration of a governments political commitment to education is the willingness to reallocate resources, both to education and within the education sector itself. To make faster progress towards UPE and other Education for All goals, many countries will need to increase substantially the resources that they commit to basic education, to enable all children to gain access to a quality education. A number of governments could achieve this through the re-orientation of funds away from less productive expenditures, e. g. military spending. But there is also considerable reallocation that can be achieved within the education sector. Too often, the needs of primary education are not met because higher education has more vocal and politically influential constituents. The willingness of governments to take hard policy decisions, such as reforming the financing of higher education, is a clear signal of a determination to establish sustainable systems of primary education. In all cases, improved efficiency in the use of resources is critical. Mechanisms for targeting of resources to specific regions and disadvantaged groups, to offset educational disadvantage, will be an important indication of commitment to education.
4.6 In countries committed to poverty reduction where, even with increased efficiency and effectiveness, financing from domestic sources is simply inadequate, resources from international funding agencies will be required. This may be particularly the case if faster progress towards UPE is to be made, and if a premium is to be placed on the quality of education.
Priority 2: Making primary education free
4.7 Inclusive education strategies must take into consideration the interrelated dimensions of cost and access. No child should be denied access to a basic education because she or he, their parents or guardians cannot pay for it. Even where education is nominally free, however, some direct costs are often passed on in the form of charges for books, uniforms, exams and transport. These direct costs can reach up to 20% of a familys income, making education unaffordable to many.
4.8 The International Forum on Consensus on Principles of Cost-Sharing in Education and Health in Africa (ECA/UNICEF 1997) asserts that general taxation and other forms of government revenue are more effective, efficient and equitable ways of raising revenue for basic social services than cost-sharing. The allocation of scarce financial resources should be targeted at primary and other components of basic education. Cost recovery should be promoted at higher levels in the education system.
4.9 Free education implies not only that states have a policy of provision for per capita expenses, but that measures are taken to ensure this is not undermined by schools raising compulsory levies from poor parents. While the aim is free primary education, the instant introduction of fee abolition may not be the most appropriate in every context. During a planned transition to free education, targeted incentives and exemptions can lessen the burden on poor people. This is particularly important for retaining girls in school, through scholarships, provision of free textbooks and removing the requirement for uniforms. It can also be effective to focus on merit-based secondary scholarships for poor girls as an incentive for primary enrolment and to help to reduce the gap at the post-primary levels.
Priority 3: Ensuring commitment to gender equality
4.10 Achievement of UPE requires unwavering commitment to gender equality. It needs a consciousness throughout the education system that changes of attitude and practice are necessary. Sector strategies should be underpinned by comprehensive gender analysis (the relationship between genders in specific contexts). Raising awareness and commitment to support gender equality at all levels of the education system needs to be integrated into such strategies.
4.11 Gender analysis may lead to the conclusion that specific interventions are needed, such as gender awareness training for teachers and school management committees or the development of gender-sensitive learning materials and pedagogy. Interventions that focus specifically on rectifying the disadvantages faced by girls and women are likely to include: programmes to research and raise demand for, and acceptance of, girls education; support for womens literacy and empowerment; programmes to raise girls self esteem and life skills; increasing opportunities for women teachers and head teachers; and better protection of girls from sexual harassment by teachers and fellow pupils. Increasingly, the need to develop methodologies for addressing boys and mens attitudes to girls is being recognised as a vital strategy.
Priority 4: Ensuring the access and inclusion of all children
4.12 To improve access will involve tackling a range of issues, including addressing the shortfall of schools or classrooms, and poor maintenance of physical infrastructure. Schools need to be located near where children live. Long distances between home and the nearest school often deter children, and girls in particular, from attending school, or dissuade their families from encouraging their education, for fear of mishap, violence or abuse. School facilities must take account of the special needs of girls, since they are more likely than boys not to attend school or drop out altogether at puberty, if, for example, separate latrines and clean water are not available.
4.13 Education should be inclusive, responding flexibly to the needs and circumstances of all excluded children. Complementary or non-formal primary or pre-primary education programmes acting as alternative delivery structures or bridges into school provide important routes into education and valuable lessons for the formal system. Schools and other educational programmes may need, for example, to adopt flexible calendars and time-tabling, support pre-school education, initiate awareness-raising activities to change attitudes to disability or to minority groups, or develop ways to include a number of languages in the classroom. For schools to be able to respond flexibly to the needs of the excluded implies a degree of decentralisation of management and decision-making to schools. Guidelines for accountability are needed which give incentives for schools to be equitable and inclusive.
4.14 The needs of working children have to be addressed. Approaches to child labour which involve applying sanctions or throwing children out of work with no other means of support are likely to be counterproductive. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and Convention 182 of the ILO, on the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour, require governments to eliminate the worst forms of child labour, meet the basic health and education needs of working children, ensure their protection and enable them to participate in decisions which affect their lives.
Priority 5: Understanding and strengthening the demand for education
4.15 Governments should place greater emphasis on understanding the different priority which poor people may accord to education, and on stimulating demand through community involvement and genuine ownership of education. National participatory poverty assessments yield valuable information on the perspectives of the poor and include views on the quality of schooling. They can lead to strategies to ensure that parents understand stated entitlements to education and are in a position to be able to challenge schools that turn away children or demand illegal fees. The interfaces between primary and secondary education, and primary education and employment, need to be the subject of wider national research to inform policy. Both have implications for the type and quality of primary education provided, especially for those children for whom primary schooling is the limit of their formal schooling.
4.16 The demand for primary education is reflected in childrens enrolment and retention rates at school. There are many complementary activities which encourage parents to send their children to school, and to keep them there. These include: early childhood care and development programmes; activities which highlight the value of girls education; the availability of local and accessible secondary education; adult literacy programmes; community-level interventions to promote health and reduce the workload of women and girls (for example, accessible water and labour-saving technologies); and strong school-community partnerships with the representative involvement of parents, particularly mothers. Civil society should be encouraged to develop its key role in supporting these strategies at local levels.
Priority 6: Improving quality
4.17 The quality of education offered to children is another major determinant of demand. Many children, particularly those from the poorest households, drop out of school or fail to enrol as a direct result of poor quality schooling. Parents will be unwilling to invest in their childrens education unless they are convinced of its quality and value.
4.18 Investing in improving the quality of schooling makes good economic sense if it promotes greater efficiency and affordability by reducing repetition. In Bangladesh, a World Bank study found that four out of five children who had completed five years of primary education failed to attain a minimum learning level31. In sub-Saharan Africa, it is estimated that up to 60% of children leave primary school functionally illiterate32. This is a waste of human potential, and also a waste of scarce resources.
31 Greaney, V. & Kellaghan, T. (1996), Monitoring the Outcomes of Education Systems. Washington: World Bank.4.19 The actual learning experience of each child is at the heart of education. Quality implies developing an ethos and learning practices which will be acceptable and understandable to communities, take account of language and culture, and ensure an environment where all children feel safe, valued and hence able to learn. This includes actively promoting equality, respect for fundamental rights and the all-round development of children. Promoting community participation in education is an essential part of this. Community participation in school governance can be an important catalyst for their involvement in local decision-making.
32 World Bank (1999), Knowledge and Finance for Education in Africa (draft). Washington: World Bank.
4.20 Poorly trained, or demotivated, teachers reduce learning opportunities. Improving the quality of teaching and learning means putting teachers at the heart of the learning process. Teachers need to be able to teach effectively, using appropriate methods to help children achieve measurable learning outcomes, particularly in literacy and numeracy. However, they also need to be able to develop good relationships with pupils and the wider community, with an understanding of the disadvantage that accompanies poverty, to promote gender equality, respect diversity and support community development.
4.21 This requires effective teacher training. Teachers need support close to their schools and ongoing professional development opportunities. Training teachers within their schools as part of a wider process of school development is likely to be particularly appropriate. The design of teacher development programmes should recognise broader issues affecting teacher motivation especially where pay levels are tightly controlled.
4.22 For teachers to be effective, the curriculum should be manageable, and adaptable to changing local and national contexts. It should provide real learning outcomes, based on adequate (but flexible) teaching and learning time. Improving and sustaining quality requires capacity to assess learning outcomes, and to use assessment to enhance teaching, not just for selection and promotion purposes. It also means making sure that children have access to appropriate and stimulating textbooks, which has been shown to have a significant effect on outcomes. Access to other basic learning resources such as readers, exercise books, pencils and pens will reinforce this positive effect. A childs mother tongue, or widely understood local language, should be used for effective early learning and the acquisition of literacy.
4.23 Poor learning environments are the norm throughout much of sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. The active management of the broader physical assets and environment of the school is important. Appropriate low-maintenance buildings, classroom furniture and the provision of clean water and adequate separate-sex latrines are vital, and are often perceived by parents, children and teachers as a significant component of the quality of the service on offer. The development and maintenance of physical learning infrastructures benefits from strong partnerships between communities and those - usually, but not always, governments - who provide the bulk of the resources for school development. The location and the long-term sustainability of new schools benefit from community involvement in resource mapping and the choice of effective construction systems. A more systematic approach to the planning and maintenance of physical assets is needed.
4.24 Enhancing quality at the school level and practising whole school development are dependent upon sufficient decentralisation of responsibility and resources to local and school levels. Support for headteachers is important. There is strong evidence that they are one of the key determinants of school effectiveness, but few have the resources, the training or the delegated authority to manage their schools well. It is important that decisions on school management are taken in response to local needs and priorities, and to facilitate co-ordination with other sectors at the local level.
Priority 7: Developing an integrated, sector-wide approach to primary education
Building partnerships with civil society in support of UPE
4.25 Education polices and strategies are often set after limited consultation with poor people, and fail to incorporate a sound social analysis that identifies those who are marginalised and excluded. The capacity of governments to listen and learn is not always well developed, and the representative bodies of civil society face the challenge of developing a strong in-country voice in support of UPE and gender equality in education. Adult illiteracy constrains poor people from having this voice, with women being particularly disadvantaged. A weak civil society cannot challenge corruption and inequitable allocations of resources.
4.26 Consultation with civil society, including children and their parents, so as to ensure participation in policymaking and in the monitoring of delivery on government promises for education, is a key starting point for developing a sector-wide policy and strategy for change. The way in which this is best carried out varies according to context. Sometimes using education personnel at decentralised levels may be effective. In other instances, a national process of poverty assessment incorporating educational issues, and feeding these back into policymaking at national as well as sector level, may be appropriate. Civil society bodies will have an important, proactive role to play in this process.
4.27 However, consultation should not be considered a one-off event. Mechanisms are needed for ongoing processes of dialogue on policy. This is as important at school level as at national level, and may imply a focus on developing literacy and the ability of poor people, particularly women, to participate in school and local governance. Developing stronger legal frameworks for UPE can be effective for ensuring that people can access their entitlements and hold their governments to account.
Developing coherent policies and co-ordinated strategies
4.28 Education is an integrated sector: appropriate early childhood education can help to develop childrens capacity for cognitive learning and promote positive attitudes to school; opportunities to continue to secondary education, or into vocational training, motivate students to complete the primary phase; improved adult literacy encourages parents to send their children to school. This means that UPE cannot be achieved and sustained in isolation. Unfortunately, many primary education development strategies and programmes designed to enhance equitable access and quality remain isolated from each other and from the rest of the education system, sometimes with disconnected or contradictory objectives.
4.29 Very few countries have mainstreamed gender analysis within their education policies, strategies and sector management processes. A strong commitment to attitudinal change, and to the development of educational institutions that mainstream strategies for attaining gender equality in schooling, is still relatively rare.
4.30 While there are often international lessons to be learned, sector policy and strategy needs to be based on very specific sets of country circumstances. Nevertheless, key features of a successful strategy are likely to reflect fully the priorities of poor people, encompass sufficient gender and social analysis, articulate linkages across the sector and, within a framework of common objectives, provide the flexibility that allows for a diversity of responses at decentralised and school levels.
Financing education effectively
4.31 Constraints on public resources have limited the ability of many countries to address the challenges of UPE. This particularly applies to sub-Saharan Africa. Since the mid-eighties, public expenditure on education as a proportion of GDP in Africa has decreased in 15 countries, and is now less than 3% in 12, some of which have low levels of primary education provision. But the challenge is not just about how much funding is allocated to education, but how efficiently and effectively these resources are used. In many of the countries with the worst education indicators, education expenditure is skewed towards the upper levels, where participation is low and dominated by high-income groups. This is often the result of a lack of political commitment to tackle vested interests, exacerbated by insufficient capacity within governments to develop and implement pro-poor education strategies.33
33 Colcough, C. & Al-Samarrai, S. (1998), Achieving Schooling for All: Budgetary Expenditures on Education in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia (1998). London: DFID.4.32 Within the education sector itself, hard choices will have to be made. In progressing to free provision of primary education, should this policy be introduced in one go or should it be staggered and gradual? In many countries, teachers salaries consume the vast majority of the primary education budget, leaving few resources available for learning materials. Difficult trade-offs need to be made in such cases between, for example, class size and non-salary expenditure. There are choices to be made also about the pace of school construction and between technologies. More broadly, governments need to make decisions about the allocation of budgetary resources between the different levels of education. Willingness to address these complex and difficult issues is itself a strong indication of commitment.
4.33 The potential role of the non-state sector as a provider of services, or as a source of finance, is neglected in many national policy frameworks. The extent of involvement of the private sector (including non-governmental organisations and religious institutions) is often seen as an indicator of poor provision, access and quality in the state sector. But the private sectors role need not be restricted to mopping up those failed by government schools. It can be a vibrant addition to the education sector, including as a source of replicable innovation.
4.34 The resources needed for education cannot be treated in isolation. Governments face a range of legitimate competing claims on their limited budgets. They have to make decisions about what allocations to key sectors they can afford and sustain. The evidence from local analysis of the effects of different policy decisions on poor people is vital, as is the use of international evidence on the use of gender budgeting, social analysis and the relative effectiveness of different strategies in different contexts. A further challenge for governments is to make allocations between regions on the basis of need, to offset disadvantage. A simplistic focus on allocation by sector without examining allocations within sectors, or on specific targets for allocation of aid and the proceeds of debt relief, can undermine governments capacity to manage their own development and lead to short-term expansion which cannot be sustained. Furthermore, differing cost structures and different levels of institutional capacity may mean that roughly similar levels of educational expenditure in a group of countries will not necessarily result in similar outcomes.
4.35 Governments need also to begin to evaluate their expenditure against educational outcomes and accept accountability for their actions. The Education for All Assessment 2000 has held governments up to scrutiny for their performance towards achieving UPE, and governments have reaffirmed their commitments. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child presents another means of holding governments to account through its reporting arrangements.
Strengthening the capacity of institutions for planning, management, monitoring and accountability
4.36 Capacity-building and the strengthening of education institutions at all levels needs to be an integral part of effective educational reform. Key areas include sector policy analysis, managing processes of change, and effective monitoring within systems which are becoming increasingly decentralised. Capacity to plan, manage and report on expenditure is critical not only to the achievement of greater effectiveness, but also to improved transparency and accountability. Real ownership by governments requires capacity to lead effective partnerships with funding agencies, NGOs and the private sector, and to manage the recruitment and deployment of technical assistance. Capacity-building efforts will be most effective within a broader context of public service reform which includes training, staff development and appropriate incentives for performance, at all levels in the system.
4.37 Developing effective public-private partnerships will often be an important concern. In some countries private and religious foundation schools sustain education, and many have, for example, helped communities to apply for government-aided status. The private sector may be able to relieve pressure on government by developing sustainable private education options, offering choice, specialism and the sharing of facilities and expertise. However, private schools can also attract the best teachers from the public sector and draw influential community members away from support for state schools. Certain NGOs may be able to support governments in meeting the needs of some of the most difficult to reach children, piloting approaches that can be scaled up and sustained. More broadly, the education sector is increasingly served by private consultants, textbook publishers, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) providers and construction firms. These may offer positive implications for efficiency and quality, and a clearer focus of governments on their core tasks of policy setting and monitoring. But, there will need to be strong leadership from governments in the development of such partnerships to ensure that the goals of achieving equitable access and quality in education remain paramount.
Developing cross-sectoral linkages in support of education
4.38 Development in the education sector cannot be viewed in isolation. It has to be connected with poverty reduction and development initiatives in other sectors. Good economic policies conducive to private investment, to growth, to innovation and to job creation, are of paramount importance. There is clear evidence that in deciding whether to send their children to school, which, even if nominally free can still carry significant opportunity costs, parents take into account the differences in wage and job prospects between educated and uneducated workers. Good policies, including openness to trade and ideas, coupled with effective investment in education, can create a virtuous circle: higher growth potential raises the perceived rate of return from education, which increases demand and the willingness to pay both via taxes and private contributions, which permits higher investment.
4.39 Health and nutrition policies have an important influence on education. Early childhood nutrition and basic care impact strongly on childrens learning capacity34. Strategies to give access to reproductive health care tend to stabilise population growth, which has positive implications for sustaining education, and for individual families ability to feed and educate their children. Policies on agriculture, the environment and rural livelihoods can reduce the workload of the poor, particularly that of women and girls. This in turn can improve their access to, and retention in, schools.
34 Smith, L. & Haddad, L. (forthcoming), cited in Fritcshel, H. & Mohan, U. , The Fruits of Girls Education, in 2020 Vision, Washington: International Food Policy Research Institute 1999.4.40 Policies on infrastructure will be important where this affects asset planning and management, school design and construction and the availability of water, sanitation and latrines. The Habitat Agenda for Sustainable Human Settlements (UN 1996) offers important reference points for linking community well-being with education. The availability of clean water and sanitation in homes and schools greatly affects child health and performance in school. Unhealthy children cannot learn and the reduction of waterborne diseases will have a positive impact on learning opportunities. The impact is particularly important for girls who also bear the burden of having to collect the water.
4.41 National gender policies and strong equal opportunities legislation which inform and emphasise the value of increased gender equity for individuals and society have the potential to impact on attitudes to, and practice of, girls education. Studies indicate that the benefits of educating girls accrue from generation to generation. Gender aware policies and strategies can increase opportunities for women teachers and managers and give access to literacy for adult women, allowing them to play astronger role in their childrens education. They can also catalyse childcare initiatives, freeing girls to attend school and encouraging better preparedness of young children to enter school.
4.42 Action on child labour is vital in many countries. Cross-sectoral programmes are needed to help to meet childrens physical, emotional and educational needs whilst facilitating their transfer into schooling or into employment as young adults.
4.43 The other DFID papers in this target strategy series draw attention to these linkages.
Priority 8: Taking action on HIV/AIDS
4.44 Primary education provides opportunities to educate and alert children to the potential danger of HIV infection before they are sexually active. This can be reinforced at secondary and higher education levels and through non-formal and public education programmes. A strategic approach will necessitate close co-operation between ministries of health and education within the framework of a National AIDS Control Plan. It will involve the development of new materials, incorporation of HIV prevention awareness into teacher training and school curricula, and gender training. It will also require new practices within schools and the education system as a whole, possibly including alternative delivery systems. Protection of vulnerable children, particularly girls, should be ensured through child rights awareness programmes and education law.
4.45 The impact of HIV/AIDS on education systems requires more urgent attention from governments. They need to address the recruitment, training and support of teachers, including those suffering from AIDS, and the strengthening of community safety nets to deal with HIV/AIDS affected children, including orphans. In many countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, but increasingly in Asia, the cost of HIV/AIDS to the education system will have to be factored into government resource planning. The difficulties of predicting future pupil numbers and teacher requirements will be compounded. In Zambia, for example, projection of deaths from AIDS suggest that there may be 20% fewer children in the system than would have been predicted using recent data on population growth trends. Responding to this challenge will require new, decentralized planning models that allow schools and local administrations sufficient flexibility to react quickly to changing circumstances. At school level, a whole school approach to school management and development, which encourages community support to teaching and allows for new staff to be quickly absorbed and trained on the job, is likely to be vital.
Priority 9: Harnessing technology
4.46 The new technologies that are available internationally offer the potential to contribute to the achievement of the education targets if their application is conceived and defined as responding to priority needs within the education sector as a whole, including the collection and analysis of reliable data. This will mean analysing and projecting the future costs and uses of technology for the delivery of education and training, for example by distance learning, and examining the curriculum changes necessary to include learning about, and learning to use, information technology in education -for instance the role of the Internet. Ministries of education should undertake strategic planning for future investment in new technologies, particularly at secondary and higher levels of education, including the training of teachers.
4.47 Governments should determine the right combination of technologies - old and new - which will respond best to the educational needs and circumstances of all children and students. An approach which encourages and enables teachers to use a combination of learning resources and technologies will be more effective than one which promotes a new and untried technology on schools, regardless of context. Technological innovations require management systems that are sensitive to the interests of users, and take account of the need for adequate resources for recurrent software costs and training. Evidence suggests that it is cheaper and easier, to introduce a form of technology into education, and keep it working, where education is riding on the back of large-scale developments by governments and the private sector35.
35 Perraton, H. & Creed, C. (1999), Applying New Technologies and Cost-Effective Delivery Systems in Basic Education. Thematic Review for Education for All 2000 (commissioned by DFID: London).4.48 The importance of tried and tested older technologies, such as textbooks, should not be neglected. Radio, in particular, has the potential to be more widely used. It can support teachers in the classroom and help to ensure that parents and communities understand their rights and entitlements to education, have information with which they can monitor service delivery, and be mobilized to support education.
4.49 Developing communication technologies for education will usually require strong national partnerships with the private sector, from which important lessons can be learned. But leadership will be needed to ensure that partners in the private sector recognise the importance of the objectives of access, equity and quality.
Priority 10: Responding to conflict and preparing for reconstruction
4.50 Education can be harnessed in conflict prevention, in mitigating the effects of conflict on children, and in reconstructing lives after conflict. Conflict prevention requires addressing issues of equitable development in the education sector. Issues to be considered include language in education policy, rights education and equity in resource allocation. The curriculum should be developed to equip children with skills that enable them to address conflict issues in their own lives. This may include the opportunity to participate in the running of the school.
4.51 Where conflict is ongoing, measures need to be taken to protect vulnerable children, girls in particular, and to maintain some form of education provision. Schooling is an important institution in the lives of children and its continuation can assist them and their communities in coping with the effects of conflict. Displaced children need innovative approaches to ensure that their education is not seriously disrupted.
4.52 Post-conflict reconstruction entails developing a process that enables children whose education has been disrupted to restart schooling. Actions must be taken to deal with the effects of conflict on children including rape, violence, psychological trauma, disability, the rehabilitation of child combatants and bereavement. Priority should be given to rebuilding the community and putting the school at the centre of this. Governments need to display political commitment to reconstruction. An important facet of this is re-establishing capacity to collect data on the effects of conflict and on the basis of the information obtained, developing appropriate policies and plans for rebuilding the education infrastructure, physical and human, which can be supported by the international community.
4.53 The governments and civil societies of developing countries face immense challenges in attaining Education for All targets. For many, meeting these challenges will continue to require the strategic support of the international community36, the major strengths of which are the financial resources and the comparative knowledge which can be brought to bear to help define and assist the implementation of national education programmes. The priorities set out above should strongly inform the thinking of international organisations and agencies, including DFID. However, there are a further two key priorities which need to be addressed specifically by the international community.
36 The concept of international community includes governments and institutions from the North and the South, international financial institutions, multilateral development organisations and bilateral funding agencies. The many representatives of civil society and international NGOs, business interests, including corporations with the potential to bring the benefits of Information Communication Technology (ICT) to education, religious bodies, academic communities and the global public at large: all play or have the potential to perform important roles in achieving UPE. This is a broad community which cuts across the developed and developing worlds.Priority 11: Increased development resources and new and more effective ways of deploying them
Financing Education for All
4.54 As set out under Priority 1, achieving and sustaining UPE will require governments to allocate an adequate share of national income to basic education. This may imply the reallocation of resources within the education sector or the reallocation of funds from other lower priorities within the government budget. In many cases, even with improved allocation of domestic resources, additional funding will be needed from development agencies. Such funding should increasingly be to the sector as a whole, within a sound, medium-term budgetary framework. While proportions vary, funding agencies should in general allocate a larger share of their resources to support for primary and basic education. Particular priority should be accorded to those countries with a strong political commitment to Education for All, and with clear strategies for delivering it. No governments seriously committed to universal primary education within a sustainable framework should be thwarted in the achievement of this objective by lack of resources37.
37 The commitment made by the World Education Forum in Dakar was that We affirm that no countries seriously committed to Education for All will be thwarted in their achievement of this goal by a lack of resources. The Dakar Framework for Action (2000).4.55 Debt relief provides scope for a significant new contribution to the achievement of the International Development Targets in a number of countries. Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) relief will now be granted in the context of a comprehensive, fully-budgeted Poverty Reduction Strategy. Ideally, where such a strategy exists, the savings which accrue from debt relief should be treated in the same way as other government resources, within an overall budgetary framework, with a focus on key national priorities, including education.
4.56 Resources are important, and it is imperative that international, external support facilitates the development of national education systems which can be sustained. This means resources allocated to education need to grow at a rate which allows governments to address the other critical elements of their Poverty Reduction Strategies, and which is consistent with the development of capacity to use these resources effectively.
4.57 Global numbers, such as UNICEFs estimate38 that UPE by 2010 would cost an additional US $7-8 billion a year, can be useful as a campaigning and awareness-raising tool. Their disadvantage is that they can give an impression that all that is needed is extra resource allocations from external funding agencies. In practice, a country specific approach is needed to assess the financing required to achieve the International Development Targets for education and to set them within the broader budgetary and economic context. This requires analysis by ministries of education and finance of the adequacy of the tax base and other sources of funding. The scope for improved internal financial efficiency, the need for differential allocations to different sub-sectors of education, and the challenge of ensuring that mechanisms are in place to meet the needs of those currently unable to benefit from primary education, all require attention. And there should be greater recognition and exploitation of the complementarity that exists between education and other sector investments.
38 UNICEF (1999), State of the Worlds Children. New York: UNICEF.New ways of working
4.58 An approach to education which is based on developing a broad commitment to policy change requires a significant shift away from discrete projects as the main model of co-operation. While projects have frequently produced particular improvements in education in specific contexts, they have often had limited sustainability. For international funding agencies working at country level, it is likely to be more effective to provide co-ordinated, flexible support to sector policy improvements, where these give high priority to UPE and the education of girls, and where they are fully integrated into governments budgetary frameworks.
4.59 This is particularly true in countries where development assistance is significant as a proportion of overall government expenditure and, as a consequence, disparate project inputs may prevent coherent sector strategy development and drain capacity. In such countries, funding agencies are likely to be involved in strategic discussions at a policy level, including discussions on development objectives, spending priorities and the broader reform agenda. This provides opportunities for supporting sustained and effective development of education, but also carries the responsibility to develop trust and openness. Developing a clear Code of Conduct39 can be a useful way of ensuring that both governments and funding agencies are clear on their roles and responsibilities, and joint commitments.
39 See for example the European Unions Code of Conduct for Education Sector Funding Agencies.4.60 Flexible sector support requires a good policy framework, supported by adequate mechanisms for implementation and management. The key objectives for the sector should be fully owned by the government (at all levels) and based on consultation with civil society, as well as sound analysis and knowledge of successful strategies in similar contexts. Where countries are in transition towards a sector-wide approach, funding agencies can assist governments to make more solid commitments, open up policy debate on gender and education and move towards good sector policies. To support this process, development agencies should continue to provide aid through appropriate projects, located more consciously in the broad sector framework, and should actively promote improved co-ordination. In countries where conditions for a meaningful sector dialogue do not yet exist, development agencies might choose instead to support efforts to improve the macroeconomic climate, to enhance sector analysis and management capacity, including budget management, or to enhance local participation in education. Development agencies need to work on co-ordinating their reporting and financing systems so that they are in a stronger position to support more coherent sector planning and monitoring.
4.61 In large countries such as China and India, which are less dependent on aid within their education sectors, project assistance can be used effectively by governments to pilot new initiatives, within their own policy frameworks and systems. Development agencies should give priority to supporting initiatives which have the potential to be scaled-up or replicated.
4.62 Moving from projects to sectoral working requires greater interdisciplinarity in development agencies. Education specialists should contribute to the analysis of the social, economic and institutional context of an individual country, engage in in-country policy and strategy formulation, and take a long-term view of possible commitments consistent with the planning of national governments.
4.63 This more strategic approach to support for the education sector is a key priority that has implications for the work of most international organisations, including the major financial institutions. The World Bank makes a major contribution in both knowledge and research, and financing. It is the single largest source of external financing for education, and is involved in the sector in 87 countries. World Bank education strategies give priority to basic education and propose giving greater support to sector-wide approaches. Support for the Comprehensive Development Framework, which is being piloted in selected countries, and for Poverty Reduction Strategies, should give further weight to this approach. The Banks proposals for accelerated progress towards UPE in countries strongly committed to UPE may provide the focus for new country-led, internationally supported initiatives. The Regional Development Banks have the potential to play a stronger role in support of this approach. The IMF plays an important role in promoting stability and encouraging sustainable economic growth. It should be encouraged to do so in ways which ensure that poverty concerns are addressed, particularly as these relate to both the demand and the supply of primary education and their impact on girls access to schooling.
4.64 Within the UN system a more coherent and co-ordinated approach, regionally and internationally, but especially at country level, is required. A clear definition of both comparative advantage and the potential for mutually reinforcing co-operation is needed. Programmes should contribute demonstrably to the realisation of the education targets within countries as distinct from centrally driven programmes.
4.65 UNESCO was charged by the World Education Forum to co-ordinate Education for All partners, to further international political commitment to education and to help mobilise technical and financial resources. UNESCO plans to place the achievement of Education for All at the heart of its activities. UNICEF is leading a global UN initiative on girls education. A coalition of agencies led by the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) is growing around HIV/AIDS and education. Several other UN organisations have education programmes in their areas of responsibility, including the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the ILO. These initiatives deserve support where they are responding demonstrably to the priorities of member countries. In the past UN agencies have tended to vie with each other rather than collaborate. A stronger commitment to measurable outcomes and joint working could greatly increase the effectiveness of the UN system.
4.66 The European Commission will need to improve the targeting and the quality of its education sector support and to achieve much better harmony with the work of agencies within individual countries. A sound policy framework is in place and priority has been accorded to basic education, but appraisal and disbursement procedures are slow.
4.67 Bilaterals have certain strengths in their longstanding relationships with particular countries, which may enable a strong in-country presence or a rapid response to meeting specific needs, for example for technical assistance. Some have specific expertise in education and/ or gender analysis. In education as in other sectors a primary need will be to loosen the procedural ties which limit flexible ways of working without loss of accountability to national parliaments. The priorities and roles for DFID are discussed further in the section 5.
4.68 There are new roles for international NGOs, religious bodies and the private sector in contributing to national and global efforts, in ways which bring the particular strengths of these institutions to bear. NGOs may be asked to work more closely with governments, to help pilot new approaches and strategies. They may support schools and communities in monitoring the delivery of promised services and the impact of policy reform, or managing increasingly decentralised budgets and responsibilities. In countries where the commitment to education is not yet clearly articulated, or translated into policy, NGOs may be able to increase their awareness-raising and advocacy role, to support poor communities not only through direct assistance, but in the forming of alliances to assert their right to education more effectively. NGOs were active in the run-up to the World Education Forum. Political commitment will be stronger if the voice of civil society actively supports the education targets. International campaigns by NGOs such as Action Aid and OXFAM are helping to heighten global awareness and promote international support for education.40
40 See for example: OXFAM (1999), Education Now: Breaking the Cycle of Poverty. Oxford: OXFAM.Priority 12: Promoting information and knowledge
4.69 Strong international leadership is needed to improve international statistics on education. The creation of a new UNESCO Institute of Statistics, which is designed to assist countries in developing their own robust systems of data collection and analysis and provide quality control on international data, is an important international initiative. The World Education Indicators Project and the collective work of the UN, the World Bank and the Development Assistance Committee of the OECD in monitoring progress against the International Development Targets is also significant.
The sharing of knowledge
4.70 Promoting the sharing of research findings and knowledge on important strategic issues (for example effective schools, financial trade-offs, decentralisation) strengthens international action in support of UPE and gender equality. The potential of distance education and the wide range of delivery technologies now available requires further research and the international sharing of experience. One important aspect of this strategy will be to find ways to support the work and networking of researchers in developing countries.