With falling school enrolment rates, deteriorating education quality and school systems struggling to overcome the global financial crisis, education is a top priority for UNICEF in the region.
Despite ongoing reforms, the region’s under-resourced education systems are struggling to improve equity, quality and governance. Children and adolescents face many barriers to school participation and learning.
Disparities in access persist for the hardest to reach groups, with policies and programmes for minority groups showing little impact. Children with disabilities are almost entirely excluded from education, dropout rates are rising in many countries and, in some countries, primary school enrolment rates are declining. Families’ costs of educating children have increased, especially in light of the current financial crisis, which exacerbates existing barriers to access.
School quality is also declining, with low levels of learning achievement, inadequate teacher preparation systems, outdated teaching methodologies, over-centralized school governance and crumbling school infrastructure among the major concerns. Early childhood education services are scarce and often do not serve those who would benefit the most. Ability tracking and segregation of children to special schools persist. Youth unemployment is often double and triple that of the national unemployment rate, partly because young people leave school without the skills needed to participate in today's knowledge economy.
In 2010, the UNICEF Regional Office for CEE/CIS prepared summaries of the situation of education in each of its 21 countries.
The Education Profiles are intended to provide an overview of the key advances and challenges for education systems in the region, with a special focus on issues related to access and equity, quality and financing of education.
Visit Education-Equity.org to find out more about inclusive quality education in the region.