This blog looks back to the World Education Conference in Dakar in 2000 from the perspective of Abhimanyu Singh, Director UNESCO, Beijing. In the years leading up to Dakar, Abhimanyu was national EFA coordinator for India, rapporteur for the Asian region, and chaired the global drafting committee at Dakar. This is the second in a series of blogs taking a retrospective view of the EFA agenda and its implementation.
As we gathered in Dakar in late April of 2000, there were high expectations coupled with a general sense of disappointment about the slow progress towards the EFA goals adopted at Jomtien in 1990. The Dakar Framework for Action revived the flagging EFA agenda with renewed international commitments for financing EFA, six time-bound goals and twelve operational strategies. A lot has been achieved since, but the unfinished task remains daunting. At this juncture it is worth reflecting on the process and outcomes of Dakar and the lessons that could help shape the post-2015 global education agenda.
Much work had gone into the preparation of the Dakar Forum in 2000. A bottom up, participative and consultative process was initiated through the preparation of National EFA Assessment Reports. This culminated in numerous sub-regional synthesis reports, regional synthesis reports for five regions; and a draft Dakar Framework for Action. My first recommendation to those working on new education goals post 2015 is to learn from the nature of this process, which gave the Framework credibility, legitimacy and a universal appeal.