Every child has the right to go to school and learn

The challenge

Education offers children a ladder out of poverty and a path to a promising future. But about 264 million children and adolescents around the world do not have the opportunity to enter or complete school. They are thwarted by poverty, discrimination, armed conflict, emergencies and the effects of climate change.

UNICEF believes that every child has the right to an education regardless of who they are, where they live or how much money their family has. In 155 countries around the world, UNICEF works to provide learning opportunities that begin in early childhood and that prepare every child with the knowledge and skills needed to thrive.  

Globally, 264 million children and adolescents do not have the opportunity to enter or complete school.

A student stands in the ruins of one of his former classroom.
UNICEF/UN073959/Clarke for UNOCHA
A student stands in the ruins of his former classroom which was destroyed in June 2015, at the Aal Okab school in Saada, Yemen. Students now attend lessons in UNICEF tents nearby.


A child refugee stands at a shelter.

Only 50 per cent of refugee children are enrolled in primary school.

A hopeful child smiles to the camera.

Children uprooted by crises lose more than a roof over their heads. Without education, they risk losing their futures.

Link to video on it's hosted site.
27 empty school buses in Manhattan draw attention to 27 million children out of school in conflict zones ahead of the 72nd UN General Assembly in New York.

The solution

For the girl who grows up poor in a remote rural area, staying in school and learning can protect her from child marriage, intimate-partner violence and continued poverty. For a boy who lives in an urban slum, schooling instead of child labour can provide him with the skills needed for a better paying and more fulfilling job as an adult. For children in emergencies, education offers safety, a sense of normalcy and the knowledge needed to build a better and more peaceful future.

In each of these situations, the solution for children is education. For UNICEF, the job is to collaborate with partners to develop educational systems that provide the world’s most disadvantaged children with learning opportunities that change their lives and the lives of their children.

Priyanka Chopra and Muzoon Almellehan hold up a slate with a statement.
On 20 September 2017, (left-right) UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Priyanka Chopra and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Muzoon Almellehan hold up a slate with the statement “For every child, an education”, in a ‘bombed-out’ school classroom set up at UNICEF House to raise awareness of the 27 million children worldwide out of school due to conflict.


Zainab attends a community-based school.

Education shaping lives of uprooted children

A school in a cave providing a safe environment.

School in a cave gives Syrian children a safe learning environment

Link to video on it's hosted site.
Syrian children’s courage for education offers hope amid grim realities
A smiling student in a classroom.
Students in class at a primary school in Bingerville, a commune of Côte d'Ivoire's capital, Abidjan. In Côte d’Ivoire, less than seven children out of ten go to primary school. UNICEF distributes school kits to children and supports the Ministry of Education by building schools and training teachers.


These resources on education represent just a small selection of materials produced by UNICEF and its partners in the last three years. The list is regularly updated to include the latest information.


Facts and Figures

Read more about the children who do not get to go to school

Education Annual Results Report

Read more about how UNICEF and its partners contributed to Education in 2016 and the impact on the lives of children, caregivers and families

Education Uprooted report: For every migrant, refugee and displaced child, education

An advocacy brief provides essential data and information on educational challenges faced by nearly 50 million children on the move and children uprooted by conflict. It concludes with a call to action to find solutions so every migrant, refugee and displaced child can go to school & learn.

Education Cannot Wait

The first global movement and fund dedicated to fulfill the educational needs of children in emergencies and protracted crises.

Girls’ Education

Addressing the gender-specific needs of girls in education

Innovations in Education report

Report about five promising innovations in education as they attempt to scale—and ultimately improve learning outcomes.

Learning through Play

Read the brief on strengthening learning through play in early childhood education programmes.