Cooperation Bases System for Education
Worldwide, about 115.4 million children of primary school age (56 percent of them girls) are still unable to attend school for a variety of reasons. Of these children who are not enrolled in schools, 37 percent live in Sub-Saharan Africa, 34 percent live in Southwest Asia, and 13 percent live in East Asia and Oceania.
Moreover, 862 million people throughout the world remain illiterate. The adult literacy rate stood at around 70 percent in 1980, and although this had improved to 80 percent by 2000, the high population growth rate over this 20-year period meant that there was only a small decrease in the total number of illiterate adults. Because two-thirds of illiterate adults around the world are female, empowering women through addressing this problem along with the problem of primary school enrollment is one of the keys to reducing poverty nation-building.
Responding to this serious situation, the World Education Forum was held in Dakar, S enegal, in April 2000. About 1500 individuals representing 181 countries and territories, and 31 international organizations, NGOs, and other organizations attended the forum. The forum adopted the Dakar Framework for Action, whose goals include ensuring that all children have access to and complete free and compulsory primary education by 2015, and eliminating gender disparities in primary and secondary education by 2005. Representatives from both developing countries and developed countries agreed to take action to improve the quality of education and ensure access to education for all in developing countries. In S eptember 2000, the UN Millennium Summit adopted the Millennium Development Goals, which also included specific targets in concrete areas of education, thereby establishing a global trend in education assistance aimed at developing countries.
In this global trend, Japan launched its latest initiative on education assistance (Basic Education for Growth Initiative (BEGIN)) on the occasion of the Kananaskis Summit, held in Canada in June 2002.
During the Millennium Summit held in New York in September 2000, all 189 UN Member States adopted the Millennium Declaration, which contained a core group of goals and targets, some of which were later refined through the Roadmap towards the implementation of the United Nations Millennium Declaration: Report of the Secretary General to the General Assembly (A/56/326, September 2001), and have since become known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). These eight goals are essentially centered on national targets for poverty, education, gender equality, and environmental sustainability, but also include targets for establishing an international trade and finance policy framework that favors development. Numerical targets have been set for each goal, most of which are to be achieved by 2015.
Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
Achieve universal primary education
Promote gender equality and empower women
Reduce child mortality
Improve maternal health
Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
Ensure environmental sustainability
Develop a global partnership for development
The Education for All movement took off at the World Conference on Education for All in 1990 (Jomtien, Thailand). Since then, governments, non-governmental organizations, civil society, bilateral and multilateral donor agencies and the media have taken up the cause of providing basic education for all children, youth and adults.
In April 2000 more than 1,100 participants from 164 countries gathered in Dakar, Senegal, for the World Education Forum. They adopted the 2000-word Dakar Framework for Action, Education for All: Meeting Our Collective Commitments. The following goals are collectively commited to be attained:
i. expanding and improving comprehensive early childhood care and education, especially for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children;
ii. ensuring that by 2015 all children, particularly girls, children in difficult circumstances and those belonging to ethnic minorities, have access to and complete free and compulsory primary education of good quality;
iii. ensuring that the learning needs of all young people and adults are met through equitable access to appropriate learning and life skills programmes;
iv. achieving a 50 per cent improvement in levels of adult literacy by 2015, especially for women, and equitable access to basic and continuing education for all adults;
v. eliminating gender disparities in primary and secondary education by 2005, and achieving gender equality in education by 2015, with a focus on ensuring girls' full and equal access to and achievement in basic education of good quality;
vi. improving all aspects of the quality of education and ensuring excellence of all so that recognized and measurable learning outcomes are achieved by all, especially in literacy, numeracy and essential life skills.
BEGIN is launched by the Japanese Government to support efforts by developing countries to promote basic education. Following is a summary of BEGIN.
3.New Efforts by Japan