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Objective 1: We reaffirm our commitment to help countries meet the Dakar Framework for Action goal of universal primary education by 2015: D
During the inter-summit period since Genoa, the G8 has been working in a variety of capacities to advance Education for All (EFA). In a collective capacity, members established the G8 Task Force to help identify ways to pursue EFA and present a report at the Kananaskis Summit. The World Bank went far to establish the "Education for All Fast Track" which called on each member of the G8 to "make significant pledges of support at the group's annual summit later this month in Canada".1 The WB estimates that the G8 should commit to providing $4 billion USD, annually, in order to achieve their goals of reaching the Dakar target of 2015. This sum should be divided among the G8 countries, according to their GDP, and is intended to compliment the 1$ billion USD that will be required by other donors. These WB accomplishments reflect a response to the G8's encouragement [as expressed in the Genoa communiqué 's paragraph on universal primary education (Section 18)] for MDBs to "sharpen their focus on education and concentrate their future work on countries with sound strategies but lacking sufficient resources and to report next year to the G8".
On an individual level, financing for UPE fell short of advancing assistance in any meaningful way. France gives only 1.2% of its aid to basic education, Germany spends only 2.6% of its bilateral aid on basic education, the US spent an average of 2.4% of its aid on basic education while Canada spent an average of less than $25 million USD per year on bilateral aid for basic education.2
Given the crescendo of activity before the Kananaskis Summit, what the G8 needed to do, in Kananaskis, in order to fully comply with their commitment to "help countries meet the Dakar Framework for Action" was to agree to a well-specified increase of bilateral and/ or multilateral aid. In the "New Focus on Education for All" communiqué, the G8 falls short of providing a consolidated aid package for countries that have been named by the WB to be ready for EFA Fast Tracking. It gives a contingency statement, by saying that member countries "will significantly increase the support provided by (its) bilateral aid agencies to basic education for countries with a strong policy and financial commitment to the sector." It goes on to claim that G8 members will "view the World Bank's Fast Track proposal as a welcome first step in mobilizing financial resources for countries committed to EFA", yet, that 'first step' has already been taken by the WB and the next step, which is to back the WB with, at the very least, a commitment to work out a donor plan among the member countries, was not taken. There is mention of aid that will be provided through the Monterrey Consensus and through resources freed up through the advancement of the HIPC Initiative, yet, the amounts that were agreed to in Monterrey were not substantial enough to provide the amounts needed in order to reach the 2015 Dakar goal of Education for All.
Furthermore, the G8 Africa Action Plan, released on the second day of the Summit and containing an entire section devoted to "Improving and Promoting Education" also reinforces the G8's reluctance to commit to a comprehensive aid package which is gravely needed to build on existing UPE initiatives. In Section 9 of the AAP, the members claim that "in aggregate half or more of our new development assistance could be directed to African nations". This is as close as the members come to consolidating a firm commitment to fund projects, such as education, on the African continent, which is a non-commitment and insufficient for reaching the Dakar Framework for Action by 2015.
Therefore, in terms of advancing assistance for countries to meet the Dakar goal of UPE by 2015, Kananaskis represents an opportunity lost.
Objective 2: We will help foster assessment systems to measure progress, identify best practices and ensure accountability for results: C
To compliment its call for increased aid for education, the World Bank's Education for All Fast Track Report, released in April of 2002, incorporates an indicative framework for identifying countries ready to take on the task of implementing well-monitored and sustainable education programs. This framework rests on providing acceptable and sustainable Poverty Reduction Strategies that outline the country's commitment to: the abolition of household payments, increases in private spending on education, civil society involvement and monitoring of education programs, a focus on sustainability, increases in teachers' salaries and a commitment to reduce the impact of AIDS/ HIV on teachers. The WB went on to list 23 countries whose PRS Programs qualify for fast tracking, 18 of which are eligible for immediate support and 5 of which are in line for aid once their proposed programs are in place.
In the Kananaskis document "A New Focus on Education for All", the G8 fails to acknowledge the work, advancement and investment that was put into the Fast Track program by the very institutions it called upon in Genoa, and on which it continues to call upon. When the G8 states that "the UNESCO Institute of Statistics and the World Bank (are called upon) to produce high-quality, annual monitoring reports based on the best data available from national governments, the World Bank, and other sources", it lends a deaf ear to the work that has already been done in keeping the G8 on a timely track towards reaching Education for All by 2015.
Nevertheless, the document does reconsolidate previous commitments to increasing monitoring systems yet it does not take any direct responsibility or action in fostering these systems which makes it a weak re-consolidation, at best.
Objective 3. We will also focus on teacher training. Building on the work of the G8 Digital Opportunities Task Force (dot.force), we will work to expand the use of information and communications technology (ICT) to train teachers in best practices and strengthen education strategies: D
Within the "New Focus on Education for All", the G8 members make no mention of the dot.force or the use of Information and Communications Technology to train teachers in order to build towards the goal of UPE. Only in the AAP did the G8 encourage the work of the dot.force to foster educational opportunities in Africa. The fact that there is no universal initiative for this, and the fact that the commitments to build on the dot.force in Section V of the AAP admits that little work has been done, thus far, to advance the Genoa commitment, Kananaskis showed a limited capacity to move towards compliance with last year's commitment.
1"Nations Tapped for Education Program". Associated Press, June 12.
2taken from "Every Child in School: Will the G7 Finance Ministers Deliver? www.campaignforeducation.org/_html/docs/welcome/frameset.shtml.
Prepared by Petra Kukacka
University of Toronto G8 Research Group
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