The Issue

The Challenges

UNICEF in Action

Resources on education


Global Education Strategy

The Education Strategy, by assisting countries – especially priority countries – to achieve Millennium Development Goals 2 and 3, can help restore normalcy in emergency situations and rebuild young lives and reconstruct systems in post-crisis countries. 

Goals and objectives

Within the international frameworks of the Education for All and Millennium Development Goals, the broad objectives of the UNICEF Education Strategy are:

(a) To help countries achieve the goal of universal primary education by 2015, by making their education systems inclusive and focused on quality

(b) To help countries achieve the target of eliminating gender disparity at all educational levels by 2015, address other disparities in education and promote gender equality in society through education

(c) To help countries restore normalcy to children and adolescents affected by conflict and natural disasters (emergencies), as part of the process of rebuilding communities, institutions, systems and individual lives in all emergencies and post-crisis situations

Strategic priorities

Education programming and implementation focuses on three priority themes and two cross-cutting support areas. The priority themes reflect the comparative advantage of UNICEF and the expectations that donors/partners have of its ability to help countries achieve the Millennium Development Goals. The cross-cutting support areas are critical for achieving results in the priority themes and also reflect the strengths of UNICEF in mainstreaming key elements to produce results.

There are three priority themes:

• Equal access and universal primary completion
• Empowerment through girls’ education and gender mainstreaming
• Emergencies and post-crisis education cluster interventions

The priority themes are supported by two cross-cutting areas:

• Early childhood development and school readiness
• Enhancing quality in primary and secondary education

A human rights-based approach

The goal of a human rights-based approach to education is simple: to assure every child a quality education that respects and promotes her or his right to dignity and optimum development. Achieving this goal is, however, enormously more complex.

Adopting a rights-based approach to education is not a panacea. It does pose some challenges – for example, the need to balance the claims of different rights holders and address potential tensions between the realization of different rights or between rights and responsibilities. Nevertheless, consistent adherence to its core principles can help meet the education goals of governments, parents and children. It demands the creation of strategies to reach all children, including the most marginalized. It empowers communities, parents and other stakeholders to claim their rights, insist that these be fully implemented and, when necessary, seek their enforcement in national courts.

To read more about this approach, go to A Human Rights-Based Approach to Education for All.






Every child's right to education

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