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close this bookWorld Conference on Education for All: Meeting Basic Learning Needs - Final Report (UNICEF - UNDP - UNESCO - WB - WCEFA, 1990, 129 p.)
close this folder3. Education for All: The Consensus-Building - Summary of Interventions in the Plenary Commission
close this folderConcerns
View the documentMaking a Difference
View the documentEducation for All: Realities
View the documentEducation in Context
View the documentBasic Education - A Foundation
View the documentFocus on Effective Learning
View the documentBalancing Priorities: Basic and Higher Education
View the documentNew Models of Cooperation and Partnership
View the documentOutreach and Equity
View the documentEducational Channels
View the documentResources

Educational Channels

Delegates were generally agreed that while government has primary responsibility for education, essentially through the formal school system, Education for All cannot be achieved without adopting a broadly-based approach to learning, involving a range of channels and partners, in order to reach learners of all ages. In the words of one delegate,

It is a fundamental role of government to ensure that all children have access to good schools, but the government is not alone in this task. The emphasis... on new partnerships involving families, teachers, NGOs and the private sector should not be seen as undermining the role and responsibility of the government in this respect. The cornerstone for the acquisition of the skills and knowledge associated with basic education is the school.

However, as many delegates pointed out, traditional primary school education is insufficient as a sole strategy to ensure education for all:

This gives too narrow a definition of what learning means and how knowledge, skills and attitudes are formed and transmitted from one generation to the other. Stimulating learning experiences, nutrition and health programmes for pre-school children, nonformal education including literacy and post-literacy programmes for adults and youths are important in their own right, but also part of a broader strategy to achieve basic education for all.

We have chosen to implement compulsory education both through in-school and out-of-school educational programmes (using complementary educational packages).

However, it was argued forcefully by J.P. Grant, Executive Director of UNICEF, that:

in dealing with a complex, multi-facetted development phenomenon, it may be necessary to forge a cutting edge... to find the most crucial of that which is doable and do it well-achieve success that builds credibility and confidence for further success on a broader front.

Within the framework of a broad vision of basic education and while pressing forward to meet basic learning needs of all segments of the population,... success in primary education can be the cutting edge for Opening the way for success in a broader and more complex educational effort including other elements of basic education.

It was acknowledged that all channels of communication - both traditional and modern, the mass media and other means of mass communication, must be harnessed to ensure the extension of an educational process reaching all segments of society. The capacity to communicate, and the amount of information to communicate, have increased exponentially in recent years.

One delegate listed some of the many complementary communications channels available for education, including "Media - radio, television, newspapers; oral tradition: story-telling, folklore, folk theatre; churches, mosques, temples; clubs, organisations, associations...." Yet while accepting the possibilities and value of alternative channels of communication, another delegate raised the potential drawbacks:

While the media can and should play an increasingly important role in Education for All, we must not underestimate their present negative influences in many areas, particularly in advertising, cultural bias and lack of any discernable spiritual and moral basis.