The foundation for success
In order to ensure that every girl and boy gains the most from education, it is necessary to provide a foundation for them to succeed:
§ Preparation: Early childhood is the most significant developmental period of life. Studies show that early childhood development programs lead to higher levels of primary school enrolment and educational performance, which in turn lead to better employment opportunities later in life. On the other hand, children who start school late and lack the necessary skills to be able to learn constructively are more likely to fall behind or drop out completely, often perpetuating a cycle of poverty.
§ Access: There are currently an estimated 57 million primary school-age children who are not in school. Children miss out on education due to many reasons, including income poverty, gender, disability, exposure to child labour, conflict and natural disasters, location, migration and displacement, HIV and AIDS, gender, ethnicity, language of instruction, religion. UNICEF supports the Education for All initiative and the Millennium Development Goals 2 and 3 to ensure that all children have access to and complete a full course of primary schooling, and to eliminate gender disparity in education by 2015.
§ Quality: On any given day, more than 1 billion of the world's children go to school. For too many children, though, school is not always a positive experience. The endure difficult conditions such as missing or inadequate teaching materials, poor sanitation facilities, lack of competent teachers, and even discrimination, harassment and violence. For UNICEF, quality education is education that works for every child and enables all children to achieve their full potential. We are committed to securing safe, rights-based, quality education for each and every child, irrespective of his or her circumstances.