Qatar based NGO Reach Out To Asia (ROTA) was recently invited and participated in the Fourth Meeting of the Collective Consultation of NGOs on Education for All (CCNGO/EFA) in Dakar, Senegal. The meeting was organized by UNESCO and serves to asses the progress and participation of civil society and non-governmental organizations towards the EFA goals and also their role in education policy dialogue nationally and internationally since the World Education Forum in 2000.
This meeting comes halfway to the target date of 2015, when the global EFA movement aims to meet the learning needs of children, youth and adults all over the world. ROTA and other non-governmental organizations are on the front lines of this battle.
The Education for All movement was launched in 1990 at the World Conference on Education for All in Jomtien, Thailand when 155 countries and over 150 organizations met to address the global education problem. The hope was to universalize primary education and reduce illiteracy by the end of the 90s. Later, in 2000, the international community met again in Dakar, Senegal where they affirmed their commitment to education and laid out the six goals of the EFA and their target date of 2015.
ROTA along with more than 150 representatives from international Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), came together for the 3 day meeting to assess civil society progress and participation, make suggestions for strengthening participation in the field of education and to help develop a conceptual framework of reference for orienting civil society influence on educational policy and improving civil society educational practices.
The six goals laid out by UNESCO and the participating countries and organizations were: to expand early childhood care and education, provide free compulsory primary education for all, promote learning and life skills for young people and adults, increase adult literacy by 50 percent, achieve gender parity by 2005, gender equality by 2015 and to improve the quality of education. The EFA goals contribute to the worldwide pursuit of the Millennium Development Goals, particularly universal primary education and gender equality in education.
Omnia Nour, director of ROTA commented on ROTA’s participation in the meeting: “This is a very important opportunity for ROTA and the other CSOs around the world to get together and share their experiences and to evaluate their progress towards MDG and EFA goals; what has been achieved so far, what the current situation is and where more efforts need to be directed. We are halfway to the target date of 2015, with a lot of work remaining, and although there are great challenges ahead, we here at ROTA are committed to assist the global community in the realization of the EFA objectives and MDGs. By finding new and innovative solutions that will enable us to overcome the existing educational challenges facing our world today and to improve the quality of education”
The meeting addressed such issues as education, lack of trained teachers, HIV and AIDS, education in post-conflict and humanitarian crisis situations and reaching the unreached. It also allowed participants to build new partnerships, showcase their initiatives, and share best practices and lessons learned.
The three day meeting culminated with the signing of a declaration by all those in attendance, expressing the CSOs dedication to the goals and the challenges they are determined to overcome in order to provide the world with access to education. The document also called upon UNESCO, national governments, NGOs and donors to step up to the challenge and commit themselves fully to the EFA goals.
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