© UNICEF Côte d'Ivoire/2006/Brioni


Education is a basic human right, vital to personal and societal development and to well-being. All children, girls and boys equally, have the right to basic quality education. Today, millions of children around the world, particularly girls, are deprived of this right.

A basic quality education enables girls and boys to access basic knowledge and everyday life skills necessary to responsibly live their citizenship and fully participate in their nation, community and family lives. Education enhances the quality of life. It ends generational cycles of poverty and disease and provides the means for sustainable social, economic and political development.

In Côte d’Ivoire, the right to basic education for an important part of children is not yet achieved. Almost one child out of two between 6 and 11 does not go to school, with a gap between boys and girls (59 per cent against 51 per cent), and a considerable difference between urban and rural areas (66 per cent against 48 per cent).

The low education rate is essentially due to the insufficient educational offer: not enough teachers and school buildings. Children who go to school do not always benefit from quality teaching, which consequently leads to a low probability to reach 5th primary grade (52 per cent). The low quality of the offer also affects parents’ motivation for educating their children.

UNICEF action and impact

UNICEF advocates for the right to education for all children — girls and boys — with an emphasis on gender equality and eliminating disparities of all kinds. UNICEF works with a range of local, national and international partners to achieve the Millennium Development Goals 2 and 3.

UNICEF Côte d’Ivoire Education Programme comprises two projects:

  • Basic Quality Education in Schools
  • Basic Non-Formal Education

© UNICEF Côte d'Ivoire/2006/Westerbeek

In 2005, UNICEF mobilized all UN agencies to work together on a back-to-school campaign. In 2006 and 2007, together with the European Union, another campaign was organized. 62 schools were re-habilitated in 2006 and 35 in 2007. 308,800 educational kits and 450,000 school bags were distributed in 2006, with 50% to girls whose prospects for formal schooling are diminished because of gender discrimination. A distribution of 550,000 pupil kits, 10,000 teacher kits and 1,667 recreational kits was carried out in the 2007 back-to-school campaign targeted schools.

As part of the campaigns, the programme also coordinates social mobilization activities, encouraging national and community radio and television stations to broadcast messages highlighting every child’s right to access education. The 2005, 2006 and 2007 campaigns resulted in an important increase in school attendance all over the country.

UNICEF, leader of the Financial and Technical Partners for education, and the other agencies of the United Nations, supported by the European Union, have played an important role in organizing the logistics for the school exams in March 2006. Exams had not taken place in the Centre, North and West areas since 2003. The school exam session allowed 93,000 pupils to validate two school years and continue their education. Overall participation reached an average of 60% in all centres.

Former UNICEF Representative for Côte d'Ivoire Youssouf Omar speaks about education in conflict-affected areas of the country - November 2007
Link to video 





Too often in silence : A report on school-based violence in West and Central Africa

Key data

  • School attendance: 2 million children in the South, 400,000 in CNW zones (2004-2005)
  • The net primary school attendance rate for children between 6 and 11 years old going to school is 55.1% (MICS 2006)
  • The net rate for girls is 51.3% and 58.6% for boys (MICS 2006)


 Email this article

unite for children