UNICEF - Basic education and gender equality - Introduction \n\n

Basic education and gender equality


© UNICEF/HQ07-1362/Pirozzi
Students work at shared desks in a Grade 4 class in a primary school in a village of Kigeyo in Western Rwanda.

Education is a fundamental human right: Every child is entitled to it. It is critical to our development as individuals and as societies, and it helps pave the way to a successful and productive future. When we ensure that children have access to a rights-based, quality education that is rooted in gender equality, we create a ripple effect of opportunity that impacts generations to come.

Education enhances lives. It ends generational cycles of poverty and disease and provides a foundation for sustainable development. A quality basic education better equips girls and boys with the knowledge and skills  necessary to adopt healthy lifestyles, protect themselves from HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, and take an active role in social, economic and political decision-making as they transition to adolescence  and adulthood. Educated adults are more likely to have fewer children, to be informed about appropriate child-rearing practices and to ensure that their children start school on time and are ready to learn.

In addition, a rights-based approach to education can address some of societies’ deeply rooted inequalities. These inequalities condemn millions of children, particularly girls, to a life without quality education – and, therefore, to a life of missed opportunities.
UNICEF works tirelessly to ensure that every child – regardless of gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic background or circumstances – has access to a quality education. We focus on gender equality and work towards eliminating disparities of all kinds. Our innovative programmes and initiatives target the world’s most disadvantaged children: the excluded, the vulnerable and the invisible.

We work with a broad range of local, national and international partners to realize the educational and gender-equality goals established in the Millennium Declaration 6 and the Declaration on Education for All, and to bring about essential structural changes that are necessary to achieve social justice and equality for all.

Too many of the world’s children are out of school or receive spotty, sub-par educations. Each one of these children has dreams that may never be fulfilled, potential that may never be realized. By ensuring that every child has access to quality learning, we lay the foundation for growth, transformation, innovation, opportunity and equality.

Whether in times of crisis or periods of peace, in cities or remote villages, we are committed to realizing a fundamental, non-negotiable goal: quality education for all.




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