Geneva, 30 September 2003
Original: English


Suggestions for preparation: 2004 series


1. The forty-seventh session of the International Conference on Education (ICE) will take place on 8–11 September 2004 in Geneva on the following theme: “Quality education for all young people: challenges, trends and priorities”. At each session of the ICE Member States of UNESCO have the opportunity of presenting a national report. The national reports have been prepared since the 1930s, and they represent not only an important source of information about the development of education in the world, but also a useful reference on education systems, recent policy developments and innovative ventures for the use of decision-makers, educational researchers and teachers in Member States.

2. As in the case of the forty-sixth session of the ICE (Geneva, September 2001), the full set of national reports will be made available on CD-ROM, as well as through the website of the UNESCO’s International Bureau of Education (IBE). In addition to the printed document in a suitable number of copies, it is also essential for the IBE to receive a diskette containing the electronic version of the report in one of the most widespread formats (*.txt,*.doc, or *.wpf). The electronic version of the report can also be transmitted to the IBE by e-mail as an attachment to the following address: m.amadio@ibe.unesco.org

3. In recent years, the national reports have been used by the IBE as an essential information base for the preparation and updating of the profiles of national education systems included in the databank World data on education, which is also made available on CD-ROM and through the IBE’s website. Taking into account the fact that the fifth edition of this databank—to be published at the end of 2003—already contains a description of the organization and functioning of the education system in 160 countries, it is not strictly necessary to include this information in the national report unless significant changes have been introduced recently.

4. The national reports should avoid, as far as possible, duplicating information already presented on recent occasions to UNESCO and other international bodies, or information made available to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Nevertheless, the IBE would appreciate it if any recent documentation that corresponds to the theme of the ICE and prepared at the request of national or international bodies could be attached to the national report as an annex.


1. The education system at the beginning of the twenty-first century: an overview

This part of the report should contain an overview and assessment of the development of education (at all levels), particularly the reforms carried out and the changes introduced since the presentation of the last national report. 

1.1. Major reforms and innovations introduced in the education system at the beginning of the twenty-first century, in particular concerning:
(a) the legal framework of education;
(b) the organization, structure and management of the education system;
(c) curricular policies, educational content and teaching and learning strategies;
(d) objectives and principal characteristics of current and forthcoming reforms.

1.2. Major achievements, both quantitative and qualitative, and lessons learned especially in terms of:
(a) access to education;
(b) equity in education;
(c) quality (particularly in terms of relevance) of education;
(d) content of education (major trends and challenges for curriculum development processes);
(e) policy dialogue, partnerships and participation by civil society in the process of educational change.

1.3. The main problems and challenges facing the education system at the beginning of the twenty-first century. 

2. Quality education for all young people: challenges, trends and priorities

Globalization and rapid technological advances, the drive for quality basic education for all (EFA), and the expansion of basic education services—which usually include the first years of secondary schooling—, are influencing all levels of education. As far as secondary education is concerned, the implications need to be considered not only in terms of quantitative expansion and greater access, but also in relation with other crucial aspects such as the scope, function, quality and relevance of secondary education systems.

The forty-seventh session of the ICE is expected to discuss the issue of educating young people (12 to 18/20 years of age). Debates are to be organized around four themes: (i) education and gender equality; (ii) education for social inclusion; (iii) education and competencies for life; and (iv) quality education and the key role of teachers. There are three major axes around which the work of the Conference will be articulated: social cohesion; the construction of peace; and education for sustainable development.

In this connection, it would be particularly useful to present your country’s experiences, innovations and best practices related to secondary education reform and renewal.

2.1. Education and gender equality:
(a) What are the main concerns regarding gender and education?
(b) Is there a gender-based policy in education and training? In what way does this address youth?
(c) What special measures for youth have been taken to promote gender equality in access and quality of education and training? (For example in legislation, policy, mechanisms, structures and allocation of resources, etc.). To what extent has curriculum development been informed by gender equality concerns?

2.2. Education and social inclusion:
(a) What are seen as the challenges for ensuring social inclusion?
(b) What groups are considered to be most vulnerable to various forms of social exclusion? 
(c) What special measures have been taken to adapt education to include members of vulnerable groups? 
(d) Have particularly vulnerable groups of youth been identified and how have educational opportunities been adapted to their circumstances? To what extent are such young people included in ‘mainstream’ education? (For example: orphans, those who are displaced, who are placed in alternative care, who belong to minorities, who are affected by armed conflict, those who work, who are affected by HIV/AIDS, those with special education needs, who are institutionalised, who are seeking asylum, who live on the street, etc.)

2.3. Education and competencies for life:
(a) Taking into account the need to redefine the objectives and functions of secondary education for the twenty-first century, how is the renewed secondary education system conceived of and planned? (For example, relative to major dilemmas such as: mass access and selective schooling, general and specialised education, cognitive and life-skills outcomes)
(b) How is secondary education responding to the current challenge of providing young people with flexible learning opportunities and life-skills development which traditional curricula tended to ignore? How are secondary education curricula and syllabi being developed and/or reorganized to respond to this challenge?
(c) What measures have been taken in order to ensure that secondary education helps young people acquire a common basis of human values in order to develop a grater capacity for tolerance and intercultural dialogue? How are secondary education curricula and syllabi being developed and/or reorganized to meet this requirement?

2.4. Quality education and the key role of teachers:
The forty-fifth session of the ICE (Geneva, October 1996) adopted a Declaration and an integrated set of nine recommendations on the status and the role of teachers. In particular, the Ministers of Education declared themselves determined: “(i) to ensure the active participation of teachers and all educational partners in the processes of changing education systems [...]; (ii) to develop and implement integrated policies designed to recruit and retain in the teaching profession motivated and able individuals of both genders; to reform pre-service and in-service education in order that they shall serve the new challenges facing education; to adopt measures encouraging educational innovations; to strengthen professional autonomy and sense of responsibility of teachers; and to improve their status and their working conditions; (iii) to place these integrated policies within the framework of strategies intended to ensure relevance of and equity of access to high-quality education, to promote lifelong learning and to make the school one of the main tools in achieving social cohesion and in training for democratic values and the culture of peace; (iv) to develop, at the national, regional and international levels, all forms of support, particularly with teachers who are working in difficult situations, such as those of extreme poverty, armed conflict, social exclusion or in remote areas; [...].”

(The integral text of the Declaration and the recommendations of the 1996 ICE—in English, French and Spanish—can also be consulted at:

In this connection:
(a) To what extent have the Declaration and the recommendations of the forty-fifth session of the ICE influenced national policies concerning the status and the role of teachers?
(b) What special measures have been taken on the basis of the above-mentioned Declaration and recommendations?
(c) How are pre-service and in-service teacher education being reformed in order for them to serve the new challenges facing education?

2.5. Education for sustainable development:
In December 2002, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 57/254 on the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014) and designated UNESCO as lead agency for the promotion of the Decade. As regards educational content:

(a) To what extent is the issue of sustainable development being considered in current curricula and syllabi? (For example: taught as a specific teaching subject, included within other subjects such as social or environmental studies, incorporated in all learning areas, forming part of extra-curricular activities, etc.)
(b) What measures—if any—are being envisaged in order to ensure that the content of education reflects and supports sustainable development as one of its central themes?

3. Documentary references used for the preparation of the national report


Member States are free to choose the appropriate form of presentation of their national report, for instance, a printed document provided in a suitable number of copies or transmitted to the IBE by electronic mail as an attachment (address: m.amadio@ibe.unesco.org). It is essential for the IBE to receive the electronic version of the report in one of the most widespread formats.

1. In the event that the report is produced in a language other than English or French, it would be appreciated if another version were presented in at least one of these two languages.
2. It is desirable that the report correspond to a standard format: A5 (14.8 x 21 cm) or A4 (21 x 29.6 cm). It is also important that the text be clearly legible.
3. It is desirable that the national report should have annexed to it the principal recent official documents on educational policy, on-going or future reforms, legal documents, etc.
4. The pages of the report should be numbered in one continuous sequence, not counting blank pages, and avoiding unnumbered and loose pages.
5. Bibliographic references used for the preparation of the report should include the individual or collective author, the title, place of publication, publishing house, date of publication and pagination. If the title of the document or publication is not in English or French, a translation of the title into one of these languages would be useful.
6. In order to facilitate cataloguing, the cover page should be presented in the following way:


National report of [your country]


[the official author, for example, the Ministry of Education]

[Publisher, if the report has been published]