New Models of Cooperation and Partnership
The joint action of the sponsoring agencies in the Education for All initiative was generally welcomed as emblematic of a necessary new approach to international cooperation. Donor agencies were called upon to redefine their role and working procedures in order to participate in a process with many actors and new partnerships. Simplification of procedures, combined with flexibility of approach, is necessary. Developing country delegates stressed that cooperation should increasingly concentrate on institution and capacity-building; less resources should be expended on costly foreign technical assistance.
Moreover, such assistance is usually concentrated on centralised functions and infrastructure, planning, management or curriculum development. Important as these are, critical support is required where the learners are - where imported equipment or foreign exchange, imported personnel or learning materials are of limited use, or where a critical issue may be one of how to support increased community control of the content of education.
High recurrent expenditures, particularly for teachers' salaries, are also a fact of life. Thus pragmatic approaches to assistance are needed, in the context of varying local needs, and targeted on local problems.
Strengthening of mutual support and cooperation among developing countries at regional and sub-regional levels is also a necessary focus for international cooperation, as collaborative networks of educators, researchers and policy-makers begin to emerge and expand. As expressed by one delegate, there is no alternative to partnership if Education for All is to be achieved:
NGOs signalled their intention to be full and active partners, and their unique role and contribution was acknowledged.
The role of teachers as actors and partners in the education process received frequent emphasis, as did the need to ensure better working conditions for teachers, more funding for improved teacher education, and enhanced respect for the position of teachers. According to the Secretary-General of the Canadian Teachers' Federation and the President of the WCOTP, respectively:
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