Vietnamese Vice-Minister attends World Education Forum

Apr 28, 2000

Ha Noi - The Vietnamese Vice Minister of Education and Training, Le Vu Hung, participated in the Education For All international conference, taking place this week (26-29 April 2000) in Dakar, Senegal.

The three day conference, co-sponsored by the UNDP, UNESCO, UNICEF, UNFPA, the World Bank, the Government of Senegal and other bilateral donors, assessed the lessons, achievements and failures of initiatives for improving the quality and quantity of education over the past ten years. The Forum aims to energise the global community to make the goal of Education For All a reality.

United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, and the heads of UNDP, UNICEF, UNESCO, UNFPA and the World Bank, joined with several heads of state, more than ninety education and development co-operation ministers and one hundred civil society organisations from 180 countries.

At the opening of the Forum, the UNDP Administrator, Mark Malloch Brown, said that the goals of the meeting are more morally and economically urgent that ever. "While debates continue to rage over other development variables, there can be no argument over the power and importance of education," said Mr Malloch Brown.

UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, urged participants to renew efforts to improve access to education. "Ten years ago, we set ourselves the goal of basic Education For All. We are still far from achieving it," said Mr Annan. "Let us start this conference by resolving not to rest until we have made it a reality."

The challenge remains daunting. While many parts of the world, including Viet Nam, have made significant progress in the last decade, there are still 113 million out-of-school children, and nearly one billion illiterate adults - most of them women. Poverty, the HIV-AIDS epidemic, natural disasters and armed conflicts, decreasing development assistance and large debt burdens, are constraints to the attainment of the Education For All goals.

Mr Malloch Brown said that even as some countries have met education targets, the goal posts have already shifted, and the fulfilment of primary education is not enough. "Education has moved from being the floor on which a country builds its competitive success to being its competitive success," he said.

At its conclusion, the World Education Forum is expected to adopt a Framework for Action, committing more than 180 participating countries to accelerating universal access to quality basic education. The draft Framework includes eleven practical and sustainable strategies to meet education needs in the context of a rapidly changing global community.
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