Education and Gender Equality




Feature Stories



© UNICEF/MLIA2009-00170/Pirozzi
A boy rests a mango on his desk to eat later in the day.

The school environment needs to be conducive to every aspect of child development and to ensure that the school actively encourages all children, especially those that tend to drop out first, notably girls, the very poor and children with disabilities.

Poverty is a huge obstacle to learning. UNICEF has provided each pupil with smart blue backpacks with school materials inside, such as pens, pencils and rulers. Particularly important for some of the poorer children are free school meals; this is high on the school government’s agenda. The parents build a canteen with UNICEF support, and the lunches are initially provided by the World Food Programme, with the aim that the community will contribute in the future. However, the lunches often stop when the community groups are unable to carry the costs.

Simple improvements, like separate latrines can make huge differences to adolescent girls. Special efforts are also made to ensure that children with disabilities come to school. Members of the school council have taken part in a training supported by UNICEF on how to integrate children with disabilities into school. The teachers have been taught to assess them differently if necessary, not always using exams, and they make home visits, especially if they miss school.

© UNICEF/MLIA2009/Good
Girls stand proudly in front of their latrine at a rehabilitated school near Segou. Separate latrines offer much needed privacy for adolescent girls and help to keep them in school.

To achieve results in early childhood development, child-friendly schools and non-formal education, we work at the National level to achieve broad results.

As a result of UNICEF’s work in the education policy sector, the following documents have been developed: “Policy Preschool Education” and the “Policy for Inclusion of Children with Special Needs,” and “Guidelines for Professional Development of Teachers.” Preparatory actions for development of standards for early childhood education and the child-friendly school standards are currently underway, including advocating for the adoption and implementation of policies regarding girls’ education, abolishing school fees and to increase access to quality education.

Increased access:
Improving access to education by setting up of facilities (classrooms and gender-separated latrines); providing school equipment such as classrooms, offices, desks and water facilities for preschool and primaries school.

Improved quality of education:
Enhancing the quality of education through appropriate training and supporting the development of relevant and appropriate learning materials for teachers and students and in our approach to child friendly schools.

Enhanced education management system:
Providing support to district authorities, partners and communities to increase school attendance by reaching out to vulnerable communities, mobilizing student groups, public awareness campaigns, and by convening community meetings to discuss ways of bringing all children back to school




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