Thursday, Nov 13, 2003
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By Our Special Correspondent
Elimination of school fees was among the various decisions adopted here today by the participants at the end of the meeting chaired by the Union Human Resource Development Minister, Murli Manohar Joshi. While enactment of a national legislation to enforce children's right to free and compulsory quality education was identified as an immediate strategic and supportive action towards achieving the twin goals, the participants also called for reduction of other indirect costs of schooling for parents while sustaining quality through adequate investments.
Given the delay in the Fast-Track Initiative (FTI) conceived by the World Bank in 2002, the resolution said donor countries and international agencies should fulfil their commitments made at Dakar and Monterrey. As a first step in this direction, participants said the donors' meeting in Oslo later this month should evolve a mechanism to make the FTI more effective and mobilise resources for endorsed countries.
In fact, a time-frame has been set with the communiqué of the HLG meeting stating that a ``statement on its future should be made no later than at the meeting of the World Bank/IMF Development Committee in Spring 2004''.
It also called for special attention to EFA nations that are in the process of rebuilding their education systems following conflict, instability and disruption.
While India's concerns vis-a-vis the data selection by the UNESCO for preparation of reports do not find mention in the final statement, there is a call for enhancing the UNESCO Institute of Statistics (UIS) capacity to identify data gaps, improve data collection and quality, help countries supply disaggregated data, and build national and regional statistical capacities.
Also, governments have been asked to strengthen their data-collection systems and statistics-related capacities to inform the development of national EFA policies and facilitate the timely reporting of data to UIS for the annual monitoring of EFA.
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