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Asia and Pacific database on education launched by UNICEF and UNESCO

Giving policy makers and practitioners evidence for action

BANGKOK, 17 August 2009 — UNICEF and UNESCO go online today with a one-stop Education for All database for Asia and the Pacific that enables governments to better identify which of their population’s children are not in school or not learning and why.

“The database brings greater precision in analysing where countries in the region have made significant achievements in meeting the Education for All (EFA) goals. More importantly, the database will help identify the unreached groups in education in terms of location, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status, among others,” said Gwang-Jo Kim, Director of  UNESCO’s Regional Bureau for Education, speaking on behalf of the regional thematic working group.

As a region, Asia and Pacific has made major gains towards all six EFA goals. However across the region and within countries, significant disparities persist and threaten their achievement.
“We see great opportunity for this database on education to help identify and reach children who remain disadvantaged in accessing quality education, particularly those from the most marginalized communities who face the largest barriers,” said Anupama Rao Singh, UNICEF’s Regional Director for East Asia and the Pacific.  “Our hope is that it will be used to create stronger links between monitoring, policy and programme response for the realization of child rights,” she added.

Asia and Pacific EFAInfo provides user-friendly data on those population groups most in need of access to quality education.  Government ministries, academic institutions and civil society organizations will have access to regional and national indicators disaggregated by age and sex, ethnicity and socio-economic status.  Where data is available, it also probes provincial and district-level settings, providing evidence for effective response to achieving Education for All.

The regional resource goes beyond standard education data to look at issues such as health and poverty, with data drilling below the surface to sub-national data.  In this way it allows for an expanded analysis of education, using not only administrative data collected regularly by ministries of education but also more insightful information generated from household surveys. This provides users with the ability to ‘triangulate’ analysis and look at education from multiple perspectives.

EFAInfo is being launched in advance of a series of training workshops to better prepare education planners and practitioners with the skills and resources to undertake analysis of education data and to apply it to planning and advocacy. 

The online resource comprises all of the internationally-accepted standardized indicators as used for the monitoring of EFA and the Millennium Development Goals, together with country specific indicators used for the monitoring of national development plans and the implementation of country-specific interventions.

Through EFAInfo, users can access:

  • Internationally comparable education indicators published for regional, cross-country comparisons;
  • National and sub-national data indicating achievements and gaps in achievement of EFA;
  • Regional, country and sub-national maps for powerful and compelling presentations.

In addition, online users will have access to a range of development-related database, searchable by key words on issues such as education, poverty, the MDGs and other topics.

The Asia and Pacific EFAInfo was launched today in a desktop and web-based format, available online at www.devinfo.info/efainfo.   The database contains a gallery of presentation-ready visuals, providing an overview of the status of each of the six goals of EFA across the region.  

Just over a third of the world’s countries have achieved or are on track to achieve the Education for All. EFAInfo is designed to help the remaining two-thirds of countries get on a similar course.

*The Six EFA Goals: 
1. Expanding and improving comprehensive early childhood care and education, especially for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children.

2. Ensuring that by 2015 all children, particularly girls, children in difficult circumstances and those belonging to ethnic minorities, have access to, and complete, free and compulsory primary education of good quality.

3. Ensuring that the learning needs of all young people and adults are met through equitable access to appropriate learning and life-skills programmes.

4. Achieving a 50 per cent improvement in levels of adult literacy by 2015, especially for women, and equitable access to basic and continuing education for all adults.

5. Eliminating gender disparities in primary and secondary education by 2005, and achieving gender equality in education by 2015, with a focus on ensuring girls’ full and equal access to and achievement in basic education of good quality.

6. Improving all aspects of the quality of education and ensuring excellence for all so that recognized and measurable learning outcomes are achieved by all, especially in literacy, numeracy and essential life skills.

UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

UNESCO’s Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education is the regional office of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization whose work in the fields of education, natural science, social and human sciences and culture and communication has a bearing on the lives of almost two thirds of the world’s population in 47 member countries across the Asia-Pacific region. 

For further information contact:
Madeline Eisner, UNICEF Regional Adviser,
Tel + 6681 701 4626 or + 662 356 9406,
E-mail: meisner@unicef.org

Rojana Manowalailao, UNESCO Media and Communications Officer,
Tel + 662 391 0577 Ext: 347,
E-mail: m.rojana@unescobkk.org




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