Basic Education and Gender Equality

Basic Education and Gender Equality


Latest progress:

In 2012:

  1. Basic Education:
    UNICEF helped 3.56 million school-aged children, including adolescents, accessing formal and non-formal basic education (including temporary learning spaces and play and early learning for young children).
  2. Child-friendly Schools: Over 120 countries reported that they have developed or are developing quality standards based on UNICEF’s child-friendly schools initiative or similar approaches.
  3. Education Policy:
    With UNICEF support, 73 countries have put in place national policies on universal school readiness and 63 countries have developed standards for early learning and development.
  4. Data Research:
    UNICEF’s leadership of the Out-of-School Children’s Initiative has enabled over 20 countries to identify which children are out of school and why – data that is essential to the development of equity focused policies and programmes.
  5. Gender Equality:
    Gender parity in primary education was reached in most parts of the world. UNICEF served as the lead agency and secretariat on United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative, a strong voice for policies and programmes to ensure all girls complete primary school and go on to secondary school in a safe and supportive environment. UNICEF champions gender equality as part of the over push for equity, and in partnership with UNFPA and UN Women organised a high level discussion on ending child marriage on the first International Day of the Girl Child on 11 October 2012.
  6. Partnership:
    As a key member of the Global partnership for Education (GPE), UNICEF has supported 36 countries to develop and implement their education sector plans and to obtain critical allocations of GPE funds.
  7. Post-2015 Development:
    UNICEF has been co-leading the ‘post-2015’ discussion for education, in which it emphasises the importance of putting equity and learning outcomes high on the political agenda.
  8. Assistance Expenditure:
    The second largest area of UNICEF’s programme expenditure was basic education and gender equality, which accounted for HK$4.7 billion (US$605 million).

UNICEF plans to expand the Child-to-Child programme to more countries and regions that it launched in 2007 in Bangladesh, China, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Tajikistan and Yemen with its partners, to provide to provide supplemental education to more pre-schoolers, especially the most marginalised in a low-cost way.

The unique part about the programme is that children’s teacher is not much older than them, so it builds on the natural phenomenon of children learning from their older friends, and can help decrease the drop-out or low school completion rates.

Education is a fundamental human right: Every child is entitled to it. When we ensure that children have access to a rights-based, quality education that is rooted in gender equality, we create a ripple effect of opportunity that impacts generations to come.

Education enhances lives. It ends generational cycles of poverty and disease. A quality basic education better equips girls and boys with the knowledge and skills necessary to adopt healthy lifestyles, and take an active role in social, economic and political decision-making as they transition to adolescence and adulthood.

UNICEF works tirelessly to ensure that every child – regardless of gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic background or circumstances – has access to a quality education. We work with our partners to realise the educational and gender-equality goals established in theMillennium Declaration and the Declaration on Education for All. Whether in times of crisis or periods of peace, in cities or remote villages, we are committed to realising a fundamental, non-negotiable goal: quality education for all.