Improved Learning Outcomes

Key Result for Children

Girl looks up from writing during a class

What’s at stake?

To prepare today’s young people for life in the 21st century, gains in access to education must be accompanied by improved quality of learning. This calls for a sharper focus on quality to ensure improvement in learning outcomes and school attendance, and to help children develop cognitively, creatively and emotionally while they acquire the skills, knowledge, values and attitudes they need to become responsible, active and productive citizens.

Studies have shown that the top four skills needed to succeed in today and tomorrow’s world will be complex problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity and people management. Curricula must be updated and culturally relevant to prepare children for today’s jobs and future needs.

The majority of pupils in West and Central Africa are barely learning the basics. A 2014 report found that more than 70 per cent of early primary pupils failed to gain sufficient skills in language and 50 per cent failed to do so in mathematics. By the end of primary school, competency gaps had widened substantially, the weakest students were still struggling to read.  

Among the issues to be addressed in West and Central Africa are access to high-quality pre-primary education; links between the language of teaching and mother tongue instruction; early support to pupils starting primary education; promoting a culture of evaluation; quality of school environment, teacher training, and support to children still performing poorly at the end of primary school.


Our goal


Change strategies

In West and Central Africa, UNICEF will carry out these integrated strategies to accelerate progress toward change.

  • Promoting the child-friendly school model, based on core principles such as a child-centred approach, inclusion, democratic participation and protection. Efforts will be made to engage high-level political leaders in developing new norms and standards for education.
  • Addressing issues related to teachers, ensuring that pre-service training and continuous professional development promote child-centred pedagogical approaches, foster high-level quality of curriculum delivery, include 21st century skills and promote innovation in education systems, teaching and learning – as well as building resilience in schools and promoting regional standards for protective learning environments in emergencies.
  • Supporting governments to improve their education management information systems through comprehensive assessments contributing to informed decision-making and policy development. Generating, synthesizing and promoting the use of data and evidence about factors that affect learning outcomes are vital to this effort.
  • Working to ensure that quality of education features prominently in the larger education sector dialogue in local, national, regional and global fora while also promoting the expansion of quality, cost-effective preschool opportunities for the most vulnerable children.
Illustration: Education 05 570 T