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Looking towards and beyond 2015: National EFA Reviews

With the clock ticking fast to 2015, ministry of education officials from countries across Asia and the Pacific came together at the Regional Technical Workshop: National Education for All (EFA) 2015 Reviews in Asia-Pacific, which took place from 20 to 22 November 2013 in Bangkok, Thailand. It was organized by UNESCO Bangkok with the support of UNICEF, the Korean Educational Development Institute (KEDI) and the Korean National Commission for UNESCO (KNCU).

At the workshop, the participants discussed the content and the methodology of the review as well as the reporting format, and reflected on issues and challenges in education beyond 2015. The discussions stressed that the process of national EFA 2015 Reviews should be government-led and participatory, involving a wide range of stakeholders including non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations and teachers' organizations. Development partners are expected to give their full cooperation and support to the review processes.

The workshop introduced practical methods and processes for carrying out quantitative and qualitative assessment and analysis of national EFA progress during the first two days. On the third day, the participants were updated on the developments in the debates on post-2015 education agenda, and engaged themselves in articulating actions for education beyond 2015 using a simulated case study.

Ms Margarete Sachs-Israel from UNESCO Headquarters gave an overview of the global debates and processes on developing a post-2015 agenda. Based on the consultations and meetings held at the global level, she said, "EFA is still an unfinished agenda. We see the continued importance of EFA Goals, but there is a need to develop a broader agenda to go beyond current goals. It is also necessary to consider socio-economic trends in the new agenda. This marks the importance of conducting regional consultations and ensuring countries' involvements in the process."

Ms Sachs-Israel reiterated that UNESCO is committed to promoting education in the international development framework beyond 2015. While the goals in the new agenda should be universally relevant, national priorities and development contexts should also be taken into consideration. UNESCO will continue to facilitate the global debate and to consult Member States and other stakeholders in the development of the global objectives and targets.

In the Asia-Pacific region, UNESCO Bangkok has organized a series of activities to facilitate discussions on education beyond 2015. They include three high-level expert meetings and a regional consultation held in Bangkok this year and last year. Ms Ushio Miura of Education Policy and Reform Unit, UNESCO Bangkok listed five concepts which have emerged from these discussions as the key principles to guide education beyond 2015 in Asia and the Pacific - equity, access, quality, relevance and lifelong learning. "The challenge is to turn these key concepts into a concrete goal and targets," she said. Further discussions on post-2015 education will be held in upcoming events to take place in Asia-Pacific, such as a regional education conference in mid-2014, World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development in Nagoya, Japan in November 2014 and a global education conference in Incheon, Republic of Korea in May 2015.

Following the workshop, countries are expected to submit their national EFA reports, including their prospects for education beyond 2015, to UNESCO by 30 June 2014. UNESCO Bangkok will synthesize these national reports into a regional EFA report, which will then be presented at the global education conference in May 2015.

For more information, please contact Ushio Miura [u.miura(at)] at the Education Policy and Reform Unit.

Written by Antony Tam [kh.tam(at)]

Related Links:

National EFA 2015 Reviews in Asia-Pacific

• Technical Workshop: National EFA 2015 Reviews in Asia-Pacific

• The third high-level expert meeting on "Beyond 2015: Transforming Teaching and Learning in the Asia-Pacific Region"

• The regional thematic consultation meeting on education in the post-2015 development agenda

• The second regional high-level expert meeting on "What Education for the Future? Beyond 2015 - Rethinking Learning in a Changing World"

• The first regional high-level expert meeting on "Towards EFA 2015 and Beyond - Shaping a New Vision of Education"