Education for All (EFA) is a global commitment to provide quality basic education for all children, youth and adults. At the World Education Forum in Dakar in 2000, 164 governments pledged to achieve EFA and identified six goals to be met by 2015.
The EFA goals also contribute to the global pursuit of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) adopted by 189 countries and world’s leading development institutions in 2000. Two MDGs relate specifically to education but none of the eight MDGs can be achieved without sustained investment in education. Education gives the skills and knowledge to improve health, livelihoods and promote sound environmental practices.
Governments, multilateral and development agencies, civil society and the private sector are working together to reach the EFA goals. The Dakar Framework for Action mandated UNESCO to coordinate these partners and the Organisation put in place an EFA “architecture” which includes the EFA Steering Committee, regional and global meetings and various partnership mechanisms. In the countdown to 2015, partnership with UNESCO is an opportunity to support countries in their final ‘Big Push’ towards EFA by 2015;
- support countries in taking stock of their EFA experience through the National EFA 2015 Reviews.
- facilitate an inclusive consultative process to prepare the post-2015 global education agenda;
- reaffirm the human rights and development case for investing in education, especially in terms of ensuring that education is prominent in the wider post-2015 development framework;
- Prepare the organisation of the World Education Forum 2015 in the Republic of Korea, a milestone event which will take stock of achievements and shortfalls since 2000 and approve a new global education agenda and Framework for Action for 2015-2030.
Since Dakar, significant progress has been made towards the six EFA goals, in particular in improving access to education. However, advances are uneven both between and within countries and toward the different goals. The quality of education is a major concern and special efforts are needed to ensure equity in education. There is a great need to strengthen political commitment and to mobilize financial and technical resources in order to reach the EFA goals by 2015 and to ensure that education is high on the post-2015 development agenda.