The Issue

The Challenges

UNICEF in Action

Resources on education


Regional approach

The Regional Education Position presents a vision and four expected results in education. These were developed with an eye on: a commitment to supporting countries in reaching the MDGs and EFA goals; the organisation’s mandate, areas of comparative advantage and MTSP; the priorities of the Global UNICEF Education Strategy; and the unique contexts and challenges of the region, as documented in Education for Some More than Others?.

In accordance with its mandate and the findings of Education for Some More than Others?, UNICEF has identified primary target groups for education efforts in CEE/CIS. UNICEF pays special attention to the most vulnerable populations with the goal of addressing current disparities and reducing long-term social and economic inequality; as such UNICEF will specifically target the particularly worrisome educational gaps for:

  • Children from poor families
  • Children of marginalised ethnic groups, especially the Roma in CEE and SEE
  • Children with special educational needs; and
  • Girls (in Turkey and Tajikistan, which are not on track to achieve MDG3).


The vision guiding UNICEF’s work in education in the region is that every child in the region will access and complete basic education of good quality.

Given the relatively high enrolment rates and institutional capacity within the region, it is realistic for UNICEF to expand the vision of what constitutes “basic education” beyond that presented in global documents. In its position paper, the term basic education will include, at a minimum, one year of pre-primary education, the full primary cycle, and lower secondary school.

4 key result areas

UNICEF’s expected results for education in the region are summarised in Table 3 of its position paper. The full text of these results is as follows:

1. Education disparities and exclusion will be eliminated, and the last 10-15 per cent of children out of school in the region will be included in formal quality education systems.

2. The quality and relevance of basic education will be improved in order to reduce school drop-out, and to increase completion and achievement rates.

3. All children will enrol in formal primary school education by the age of six years and all children in the age range 3-6 years will participate in at least one year of free pre-primary education.

4. All countries will create education systems designed to build social cohesion and tolerance to reduce tension and prevent conflict, especially in areas of “frozen conflict” and ongoing ethnic tensions, and will integrate education in emergency preparation and response to restore schooling to affected populations in all emergency (including natural and manmade disasters) and post-crisis situations.


The proposed measures above build from 4 key supporting strategies designed to capture UNICEF’s areas of comparative advantage and ability to partner effectively with other stakeholders in making the greatest possible contribution toward each expected result and, ultimately, to UNICEF’s vision of ‘Education for All.’ These strategies describe UNICEF’s contributions toward making Child-Friendly Schools a reality through comprehensive reforms at every level of education systems.

• Knowledge management
• Strategic partnerships
• Quality assurance and oversight
• Technical support


With limited financial and human resources, UNICEF is not in a position to have a significant and lasting impact on education reforms alone. Therefore, it is critical for UNICEF to build strategic partnerships at regional level in order to leverage the influence and funding required for steering education reforms and driving system changes. Partnerships will be developed around several key issues for education in the region. Major partners in the region include:

  • World Bank
  • Roma Education Fund (REF)
  • Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
  • Open Society Institute (OSI)
  • European Union (EU) /European Commission (EC)
  • Council of Europe (CoE)
  • National and local civil society








Education in CEE/CIS


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