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close this bookMeeting Basic Learning Needs: A Vision for the 1990s (UNICEF - UNDP - UNESCO - WB - WCEFA, 1990, 170 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentPreface
View the documentGlossary
close this folder1. Global Challenges and Human Development
View the documentA. Introduction
close this folderB. The Global Challenges
View the document(i) Economic stagnation and decline
View the document(ii) Economic disparities
View the document(iii) Marginalized populations
View the document(iv) Environmental degradation
View the document(v) Rapid population growth
View the documentC. Constraints on Human Development
View the documentD. The Role of Human Development in Addressing Global Challenges
View the documentE. Defining Basic Learning Needs
View the documentF. New Opportunities for Human Development
close this folder2. The Context and Effects of Basic Learning in the World
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentA. Basic Education Data
close this folderB. Indicators of the Context and Effects of Basic Education
View the document(introduction...)
View the document(i) Background characteristics
View the document(ii) Financial capacity
View the document(iii) Educational effort
View the document(iv) Educational effects
View the document(v) Social impacts
View the documentC. The State of Adult Basic Education
View the documentD. The State of Early Child Development
View the documentE. Progress and Prospects
close this folder3. An Expanded Vision of Basic Education for All
close this folderA. Shaping the Vision
View the document(introduction...)
View the document(i) Universalizing access and promoting equity
View the document(ii) Focussing on learning
View the document(iii) Broadening the means and scope of basic education
View the document(iv) Enhancing the environment for learning
View the document(v) Strengthening partnerships
close this folderB. Requirements for Implementing the Vision
View the document(i) Developing a supportive policy context
View the document(ii) Mobilization of resources
View the document(iii) Strengthening international solidarity
close this folder4. Meeting Basic Learning Needs: Analyzing Policies and Programmes
View the documentA. Introduction
View the documentB. Early Child Development
close this folderC. Meeting the Basic Learning Needs of Children
View the document(introduction...)
View the document(i) Increasing relevance
View the document(ii) Improving quality
View the document(iii) Promoting equity
View the document(iv) Enhancing efficiency
close this folderD. Meeting the Basic Learning Needs of Youth and Adults
View the document(introduction...)
View the document(i) Content and relevance
View the document(ii) Programmes and quality
View the document(iii) Effects and equity
View the document(iv) Monitoring and elf Liens
close this folder5. Strategies for the 1990s
View the document(introduction...)
close this folderA. Priority Action at National Level
View the document(introduction...)
View the document(i) Assessing needs, planning action and defining targets
View the document(ii) Creating a supportive policy environment
View the document(iii) Designing policies to improve basic education
View the document(iv) Improving managerial, analytical and technological capacities
View the document(v) Mobilizing information and communication channels
View the document(vi) Building partnerships and mobilizing resources
close this folderB. Priority Action at the Regional Level
View the document(introduction...)
View the document(i) Exchanging information, experience and expertise
View the document(ii) Undertaking joint activities
close this folderC. Priority Action at World Level
View the document(i) Status and prospects of external funding
View the document(ii) Concerted and sustained long-term support for national and regional actions
View the document(iii) Enhancing national capacities
View the document(iv) Consultations on policy issues
View the document(v) Co-operation within the international context
close this folderAnnex 1 - Basic Data
View the documentCountry Key
View the documentAnnex - Table 1: Background National Characteristics
View the documentAnnex - Table 2: Indicators of Financial Capacity
View the documentAnnex - Table 3: Indicators of Educational Effort
View the documentAnnex - Table 4: Indicators of Educational Process and Results
View the documentAnnex - Table 5: Indicators Of Social Effects
View the documentAnnex - Table 6: Participation in Adult Education
View the documentTechnical Notes
View the documentAnnex 2 - Financing Primary Schooling: An Analysis of Alternatives
View the documentAnnex 3 - Selected Bibliography
View the documentAppendix - World Declaration on Education for All
View the documentBack cover

A. Introduction

On the threshold of the 21st century, the world faces major global challenges characterized by the threat of economic stagnation and decline; widening economic disparities among and within nations; millions of people dislocated and suffering from war, civil strife, and crime; widespread environmental degradation; and rapid population growth. These challenges pose problems of direct or indirect concern to all nations, although the nature, extent, and incidence of the effects of the problems vary according to each nation’s specific conditions and societal context. These challenges have the potential to constrain the development of individuals and even whole societies, and are already retarding the ability and willingness of governments, nongovernmental organizations, communities, families, and individuals to support new investments in basic education, the very foundation of human development.

Fortunately, the present time also presents a unique opportunity to redress this situation. Global movements towards peace, the dramatic reduction in cold war tensions, and the positive aggregate growth patterns in many countries in recent years combine to create a more co-operative and committed international climate in support of human development, which views the well-being of all humans as the focus and purpose of societal development efforts. Human development itself involves an interactive process consisting of psychological and biological maturation as well as learning, enabling individuals to improve their well-being and that of their community and nation. It is broader than, but inclusive of, human resource development, which relates to the development and conservation of manpower to contribute to social and economic development.

There is a growing consensus that human development must be at the core of any development process; that in times of economic adjustment and austerity, services for the poor have to be protected; that education - the empowerment of individuals through the provision of learning - is truly a human right and a social responsibility. Never before has the nature of learning and basic education been so well diagnosed and understood in its psychological, cultural, social and economic dimensions. Today, the sheer quantity of information available in the world - much of it relevant to survival and basic well-being - is exponentially greater than that available only a few years ago, and the rate of its growth is accelerating. This includes information about obtaining more life-enhancing knowledge - or learning how to learn. A synergistic effect occurs when important information is coupled with another modern advance - our new capacity to communicate. The financial, technological, and human resources available on a world scale to meet basic learning needs today are unprecedented. When these factors are combined with the reaffirmation of political commitment to meeting basic learning needs, the next decade and the new century can be seen to provide an opportunity for human development sufficient to help meet the real and serious challenges the world faces.

During the four decades since the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirmed the right of everyone to education, substantial and sincere efforts have been made by the countries of the world to implement this right. Now, concurrent with International Literacy Year (1990) and in line with the objectives of the World Decade for Cultural Development (1988-97) and of the Fourth United Nations Development Decade (1991-2000), there is a need to reinforce and extend basic education to bring into being forms of sustainable national development that reconcile cultural and technological change within social and economic development.

The current optimism about basic education is not founded on name assumptions that education is the sole determinant of individual or societal change: various prerequisite and concomitant changes are required in general political, social and economic structures and processes. Neither does the optimism ignore the seriousness and significance of the challenges that remain. However, the very challenges that constrain new basic education efforts reinforce the importance of these efforts. While not sufficient by itself to resolve the larger social and economic challenges faced by the world’s nations, more and better basic education is a necessary part of any resolution of these challenges.