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Central Asian Countries Agree to Improve Quality and Access to Education by 2015

Dushanbe, 9 June, 2005 – Concluding a 3-day meeting in Warzob, delegates from five Central Asian countries committed to speeding up the common education reform process in each country in the face of limited resources for investment in the education sector.

In a unique initiative of regional cooperation, delegates from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan addressed the critical problems of their common education reform plan and barriers to the achievement of Education For All (EFA) and Millennium Development Goals (MDG).

“UNICEF welcomes this renewed commitment of education officials from the five Central Asian countries,” said Yukie Mokuo, UNICEF Tajikistan Representative.

Some Central Asian republics faced the challenges of maintaining access to universal education, while some countries confronted worse completion rates of 9 years compulsory education.

Sustaining the quality of education was a key issue of the discussion. Country delegates acknowledged that investment in education was a critical factor for successful reform, sustainable development of the society and the protection of a basic child right.   

Ms. Yukie Mokuo, UNICEF Representative in Tajikistan observed that “...such regional institutional frameworks can move social issues to center stage and solve social problems like girls’ education and introduce new ideas like Early Childhood Development (ECD). However, in future, greater children’s participation is also required”.   

On the first day of the Forum new experiences in reforming the education system in member countries were introduced. New ideas, such as per capita financing and institutional mechanisms for managing the education system, were introduced by guest speakers from the Government of Samara in the Russian Federation.

On the second day of the Forum, thematic groups on Girls’ Education, Life Skills Based Education, Adult Education presented their plans of actions. A new thematic group on ECD was introduced and Turkmenistan, attendeding the Forum for the first time, was nominated to lead the group. The Forum adopted a strong, practical, mutual problem solving approach within the region.

The Forum participants also called on donor agencies to beef up their support, particularly in financing reform process.  The Forum strongly pointed to the need for greater coordination and cooperation among donor agencies which include the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, UNICEF, UNESCO, GTZ and others.   

Education specialists from UNICEF, the regional office and HQ also made presentations on Early Childhood Development and Girls’ Education.

Closing, CARK country delegates resolved to continue exchange opportunities and move forward to achieve the goals of EFA and MDG.

For further information, please contact: 

Kate Donovan, UNICEF Media, 212 326 7452
e-mail:  kdonovan@unicef.org




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