China has been named among more than 70 countries that are unlikely to achieve the Education for All target by the 2015 deadline set at the World Education Forum in Dakar, Senegal, two-and-half years ago. China is included in a list of 57 countries at risk of not achieving universal primary education and the 79 at risk of failing to halve adult illiteracy, out of the 153 countries that signed up. The 2002 Education for All Global Monitoring Report released by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) in London this week, makes grim reading. It blames aid cuts, conflict, Aids and teacher shortages for the failures. Some 28 countries, accounting for more than 26 per cent of the world's population, may not achieve any of the three key Dakar goals; universal primary education (UPE), gender equality and the halving of illiteracy rates. Two-thirds of these countries are in sub-Saharan Africa, but they also include India and Pakistan. The findings were based on statistics provided to Unesco by countries and international agencies. 'The 'at risk' countries are based on where each of them are vis-a-vis the enrolment ratios reported to Unesco and the direction they are moving in,' Professor Christopher Colclough, the report's director, told the South China Morning Post. China, he said, had slipped from 96 per cent of the relevant age group receiving primary education at the beginning of the 1990s to 93 per cent now. 'There is no doubt that with a net ratio of 93, China is close to the goal, but it is declining.' Adult illiteracy was also a problem for China, with 45 million people still illiterate. Professor Colclough said there was a massive global shortfall of teachers. An extra 15 to 35 million were needed to achieve universal primary education by 2015. The number was increasing because of population growth and changes in pupil-teacher ratios. Aids was also hitting the supply of teachers. The costs of attaining the Dakar goals had been underestimated while resources available had been overestimated, he said. An additional US$5.6 billion (HK$44.8 billion) in international aid - double the amount estimated - was required to achieve the UPE and gender goals alone.