ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Education : Quality with Quantity

Most governmental initiatives towards education have focused primarily on the need to raise literacy rates, ignoring the vital quality aspect. The gap between policy statements and their actual implementation can be bridged, as was stressed at the recent Dakar World Education Forum, by forging links with NGOs and with local communities at the grass roots level.

“Education for all has to be about  quality, not just filling in the classrooms”, this was a remark that resonated at the World Education Forum, held at Dakar in Senegal in April 2000. The non-governmental organisations (NGOs) present at Dakar repeatedly voiced their concern on the need to provide Quality Education for All and not an education that begins and ends as a numbers game. The importance of quality, relevance and effectiveness of education alongside access to it ultimately found a place in the Dakar Framework for Action, accepted by the 182 nations present at Dakar.

The World Education Forum convened to review the achievements towards universalising education since the World Conference on Education for All, held in Jomtien, Thailand, 10 years ago. Recognising that more than 960 million adults (one-third of the world’s adults), and 127 million children, two-thirds of these women and girls, were illiterate or out-of-school, the Jomtien Framework for Action had articulated an expanded vision of basic education. This expanded vision was to include early childhood care and development opportunities; relevant, quality primary schooling or equivalent educational opportunities for out-of-school children; and literacy, basic knowledge and life skills training for youth and adults. The Jomtien goals emphasised the universalisation of primary schooling and reduction in adult illiteracy rates to one-half of their 1990 level by the year 2000, with sufficient emphasis across the board on girls and women’s education to reduce the prevalent gender gap.

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