Education For All Week in Central Asia

23 July 2003

Global EFA Week is already well established in the countries of Central Asia, with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan participating for the third time in the 2003 Global EFA Week celebration, and the UNESCO Almaty Cluster Office providing proactive support and input in close cooperation with local government bodies.

Global EFA Week is a yearly celebration held on the anniversary of the World Education Forum that was held in Dakar, Senegal in April of 2000. The UNESCO theme for Global EFA Week this year was, All for Girls Education, a reminder of the goals set by EFA Week for 2015. Dakar Goal No.5 and Millennium Development Goal No.3 focus on eliminating gender disparities in primary and secondary education by 2005. Accordingly, Global EFA Week this year focused on closing the gender gap in education. With 2005 just around the corner, Global EFA Week acted to urge governments, the international community and the people of the world to accelerate their efforts toward eliminating gender disparities.

All the three countries took a very serious approach to all the EFA-promoting activities including participation in EFA Week. They welcomed these activities as additional opportunities to focus the publics attention on existing problems and moreover to encourage the active involvement of all existing and potential stakeholders in assisting both adults and children deprived of their basic right to make a choice and to overcome poverty through a quality education. National governments have the prime responsibility for providing education to all, but they cannot do this alone. The UN Literacy Decade is not planned as an independent initiative, nor is it a parallel system or programme. It builds on existing work and stimulates new work in literacy, implemented through governments and thousands of organisations in every country of the world. Parliamentarians, teachers, business leaders, media organisations, parents, and civil society groups working in education must also be involved. They all play a key role because they are the ones that can mobilise governments and citizens to work towards attainment of the EFA goals.

In all three countries, roundtable discussions on the subject were held and local news media were invited to press conferences. ASP Net schools were involved in at least one of the activities. In addition, the UN Literacy Decade was launched as a part of EFA Week activities. Since the theme of this year is Building Momentum to Eliminate Gender Disparities by 2005, issues of girls education and gender equality in education were continuously discussed.

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