Fourth Central Asian Education Forum: Joint effort to improve education in Central Asia, 6-8 June 2005, Dushanbe

6 June 2005

The meeting for the Fourth CARK Education Forum take place in Dushanbe, Tajikistan on June 6-8, 2005. Invited more than 100 participants, including senior government officials from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, representatives from national and international NGOs, representatives from the UN and other donor agencies, and representatives from embassies located in Tajikistan.

The CARK Education Forum is a follow up to the World Education Forum that was held in Dakar, in April 2000. The World Education Forum, reviewing the achievements as well as the unmet EFA goals of Jomtien in 1990, expressed a collective commitment to ensure that the right to a basic education of good quality is fully achieved by 2015. All countries of the world adhered to a universal EFA Declaration articulated around six major goals to be implemented by 2015. The six goals are as follows:
  • Expanding and improving comprehensive early childhood care and education, especially for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children
  • Ensuring that by 2015 all children, particularly girls, children in difficult circumstances and those belonging to ethnic minorities, have access to, and are able to complete, free and compulsory primary education of good quality
  • Ensuring that the learning needs of all young people and adults are met through equitable access to appropriate learning and life skills programmes
  • Achieving a 50 % improvement in levels of adult literacy by 2015, especially for women, and equitable access to basic and continuing education for all adults
  • Eliminating gender disparities in primary and secondary education by 2005, and achieving gender equality in education by 2015, with a focus on to and achievement in basic education of good quality
  • Improving every aspect of the quality of education, and ensuring excellence so that recognized and measurable learning outcomes are achieved by all, especially in literacy, numeracy and essential life skills
The CARK Education Forum can help its member countries to achieve these educational goals by building partnerships and developing a common understanding of what is needed. This was already apparent during the country discussions of the first day. Among the CARK countries several common problems were identified and solutions offered.

While national education systems have evolved in ways that broadly reflect the evolution of the five countries in Central Asia, they have also shared a common starting point, and the difficulty for many Governments to maintain their education systems through a period of extreme fiscal pressure has also been evident in each of the countries. Against this background, there are limited opportunities for education policy makers to share their experiences of the last decade, and the challenges with which they are currently dealing. It was therefore decided to establish the Education Forum in order to draw policy makers together to review experiences of education reform, and to consider policy options relevant to current agendas.

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