The UNESCO regional office in Bangkok has recently announced the publication of the findings of the “Asia-Pacific Education For All Mid-Decade Assessment and Mid-Term Policy Review (MDA and MTR) Evaluation”. Carried out from 2006-2009, these processes focused on building capacities of countries in the region to review progress and challenges in respect of achieving the EFA goals. They also focused on identifying and reaching the unreached and marginalised groups in education, for example, child labourers. The process emphasised that only by knowing which groups are being disadvantaged and subsequently implementing targeted policies aimed at addressing the disparities in education can EFA be truly achieved.
With the target year for achieving the six EFA goals in 2015 drawing nearer, countries need to know how far or close they are to deliver education for all. A comprehensive 2015 EFA assessment, therefore, would provide answers to whether countries and education partners have met the EFA goals.
The evaluation was aimed at documenting what “worked well” and what could be improved in view of the next major assessment of EFA. It was also carried out in view of the fact that although global and regional assessments of EFA were undertaken, there has been no systematic and comprehensive evaluation and documentation of these assessments. The evaluation report contains key findings that provide insights into how capacity development in the monitoring and coordination of EFA can be institutionalised at the regional and country levels. It documents important lessons on how to engage countries in a regional process and at the same time ensure national ownership. It identifies good practices in enhancing the effectiveness of partnerships at the regional, sub-regional and national levels with other UN agencies and civil society organizations to better provide assistance and support to countries in the region.
Among some of the key challenges highlighted in the evaluation process were the following:
- Significant data-related challenges in terms of identifying disadvantaged groups in education;
- Lack of inter-ministerial coordination in gathering data on EFA;
- The challenge facing governments in terms of the many and significant reporting demands by UN agencies.
Global March welcomes the publication of these findings which will provide much needed support to governments in conducting EFA assessments and policy evaluations. If the 2015 goals are to be successful then they must be meaningful for all children in all countries, particularly the marginalised and excluded. Child labourers figure strongly in this group of hardest-to-reach children, and their continued exclusion from access to quality education must be addressed as a matter of urgency.
To download the full evaluation report, click here