Achieve universal primary school education (MDG 2)
France has an education policy based on the MDG which includes 4 priorities:
- Promote access to education. The problem of access to education, in order to be treated correctly, must be addressed both in terms of offer and in terms of demand: the problems of offer concern the quantitative and geographic scope of schooling coverage: school buildings, recruitment policies, training and payment of teachers, fair share of human and material resources throughout the territory. The problems of demand include social and economic factors which determine access to and abandoning of schooling (direct and indirect costs met by the families, cultural obstacles, evaluation of the benefits by the families...). Problems of access must also be addressed in terms of equity and of reducing in disparities in access with regards to certain vulnerable or remote populations. For this question, through its initiatives relative to educational offer and demand, France will pay special attention to the schooling of girls (access to schooling over the long term).
- Improve the quality of education. Providing access to schooling is not sufficient, the quality of teaching must be good. The identification of factors which influence learning and optimisation of such factors is essential: use of manuals, training teachers, curriculum reforms, teaching in national languages, understanding French as a teaching language, schooling organisation and school establishment management.
- Supporting the development and piloting of efficient sector based policies. Improvement in the efficacy of educational systems is a prerequisite for their extension and overall efficiency, the alternative being deploying ever greater resources with proportionately diminishing returns. Here, three key directions have been retained: support for diagnostics and sector based analysis (notably through use of the RESEN methodology) in order to develop and deploy education policies; capacity building for the analysis, project management and running of systems to improve the use of resources deployed and improve the internal efficiency of the schooling systems; development support for deconcentrated and/or decentralised control of education systems.
- Support the deployment of participative management of schools with development of greater levels of responsibility and synergy with local actors in the education community (parents and their associations, representatives of local authorities, teachers) in the expression of the education offer and demand and the management, follow up and evaluation of the primary education system.
In more general terms, France currently targets its initiatives on a sector based approach aimed at improving aid efficiency, one which enables a global view of the educational system (economic, financial, organisational, pedagogical) and promotes the establishment of links between diagnosis, strategy, action plans, budget deployment programmes and results monitoring.
Four major principles underpin the action towards this perspective:
- Insertion of educational policies within economic development and poverty reduction strategies. PSRP have replaced sector based policies in he macro-economic context thus placing the accent on the financing dimension of these policies and on their impact in terms of poverty and inequality reduction.
- Adoption of strategies by our partners by means of (i) a joint diagnosis and a global strategy, rather than a fragmented approach with dispersed projects and (ii) participation of all the partners in educational policies within the previously mentioned framework.
- Priority given to results enables the emphasis to be shifted from a logic of means to one of results meaning that aid is apportioned on the basis of results achieved and the efficacy of policies deployed.
- Interaction of our initiatives with those of other financial partners within the framework of sector based policies.
France supports the permanent secretariat for the Fast Track initiative by contributing to its operating expenses and seconding an expert consultant. In addition, an expert information pole has been established with Unesco in Dakar (BREDA) notably targeting MDG2. Finally, France contributes to various fiduciary funds established with Unesco and the World Bank.
Our global effort in favour of basic education represents, for the 2000-2002 period, according to DAC figures, 3% of French public bilateral aid and 17% of public bilateral aid in education. This effort represents an annual engagement of 148 million Euros over three years, including 161 M€ in 2002. The resources dedicated to primary education in developing countries places France in 5th place in terms of volume (and 9th in terms of effort as a proportion of GDP) amongst financiers in this sector. The strong increase in Public Development Aid (APD) dedicated to primary level schooling was confirmed over the 2003-2004 period. Basic education was designated as one of the four priorities for the Debt Reduction and Development Contract (C2D) within the framework of rescheduling the bilateral debt; the process for deploying these C2D is gathering momentum, notably further to the launch of new operations in Mauritania, Tanzania and shortly in Nicaragua.
Strengthening basic education in Burkina Faso - Target 3 of MDG 2
In Burkina Faso for example, financiers, including France, support the sub-sector strategy for basic education adopted by the country’s government in 2001 and formalised in the Ten Year Basic Education Development Plan (PDDBE). This plan was notably retained for "Fast Track" partnership with a view to achieving universal, quality primary schooling by 2015 (MDG2).
The first phase of the “accelerated” PDDBE (2002-2005) has two main objectives:
reform and expansion of basic informal education achieved through: (i) access to schooling on a long term basis (building schools, recruitment, training and appointment of teachers, availability of manuals and educational materials).
building institutional capacities in terms of management and strategic development, achieved through (i) deployment of an organisational and operational framework at the Ministry of Basic Education and the Elimination of Illiteracy, (ii) strengthening of the financial management system and (iii) capacity building for central and deconcentrated managers (training and awareness).
This project is an illustration of initiatives being harmoniously deployed by financial partners through their intervention mechanisms and financing procedures in coordination with the beneficiary country.