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The child in the family

The school-aged child in the family

Edward Kisuto (right) reads with his elder sister outside their house in Mutungo, a suburb of Kampala, the capital of Uganda. Edward lives with his mother, brother and sisters. The children's father died of AIDS.

When the child reaches school-age, the role of the family remains critically important. The child can only be enrolled, attend school regularly and participate in after-school activities with the assistance of the family. All of these activities are vital to children’s learning.

Both the family and the school are essential elements of the “protective environment” – the network that ensures that children are shielded from all forms of exploitation and abuse, such as child labour.

The family is an essential vehicle for the transmission of knowledge, values, attitudes and practices which are essential for the survival of a culture. UNICEF devotes special efforts to support the welfare of families so they may, in turn, protect and implement children’s rights.

Children who are healthy, well-nourished, and protected from abuse and exploitation are better prepared to learn. The family serves as an important bridge between all of the public institutions that assist in these areas, and can make certain that their children’s needs and rights are respected by all agencies involved.

Since more girls are excluded from school than boys, UNICEF emphasizes the education of girls, while promoting an education for all children. UNICEF believes in the partnership between teachers and parents for ensuring that children learn both in school and after school. UNICEF encourages families to create a favourable environment for providing girls and boys with equal learning opportunities.

In times of conflict, UNICEF supports families and makes sure that children continue to have the right to an education realized. UNICEF helps mobilize teachers and parents, registers children, prepares school facilities and organizes curricula, at times rebuilding entire educational systems.

Examples from Afghanistan and Gambia show how UNICEF is working with the school-aged child in the context of their families.



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