Basic education and gender equality

Let Us Learn


UNICEF is redoubling efforts to promote equity, encourage innovation and support improved learning outcomes for children around the world. Overall access to education has increased in recent years. However, these gains have not reached all children, especially those affected by crises or suffering from marginalization.

As of 2012, 58 million children of primary school age were out of school, along with 63 million adolescents of lower secondary school age.  According to estimates from 2011, of those that are in school, an estimated 250 million children worldwide are unable to read and write. One-third of young women aged 15 to 24 are illiterate in the least developed countries. Given these realities, long-term development goals, such as the Education for All and Millennium Development Goals 2 and 3, will not be achieved until all children have equitable access to quality education.

The urgency to overcome these global education challenges informed an initiative to demonstrate new ways of reaching the hardest to reach children and young people. The Let Us Learn initiative, a unique collaboration launched with private donors, allows for flexible and innovative approaches to address unequal progress in education. Building on UNICEF’s Out-of-School-Children Initiative and Child Friendly Education, Let Us Learn focuses on three equity pillars: reaching out-of-school children, expanding girls’ education and improving quality outcomes for learners.

Let Us Learn - Educating the Hardest to Reach from UNICEF Education on Vimeo.

Five countries – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Liberia, Madagascar and Nepal – are targeting the most vulnerable children by sharpening the equity focus in both programming and monitoring of results. These children may live in remote areas, have disabilities or face social and educational exclusion. Some examples of current equity initiatives include:

  • Ensuring Afghani girls have a second-chance at completing primary school though accelerated learning programmes.
  • Enrolling children in Bangladesh with special needs in pre-primary education to ensure on-time enrolment and promote school retention.
  • Building essential computer literacy and other 21st century skills of adolescents in Liberia. 
  • Empowering girls to transition to junior secondary school in rural Madagascar.
  • Creating multiple pathways to learning for out-of-school minority children in Nepal.

Let Us Learn is working to replicate successful initiatives and ensure learning is shared with other countries in an effort to give every last child his or her right to a quality education.



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