In West and Central Africa, we help to provide quality education to every child.

A boy sits amongst fellow students at a desk in his classroom
UNICEF Benin/ 2011/Xanthopoulos


Millions of children in West and Central Africa are still denied an education.

The region accounts for one-third of the global total of primary school age children and one-fifth of lower secondary age children who are out of school. Children and adolescents caught up in humanitarian emergencies are especially vulnerable to missing out on schooling or dropping out of school permanently.

The region also lags behind in gender equality in education: for every ten boys enrolled in primary school, there are only nine girls. These differences get bigger as children progress through the school system.

Many children do not get the best start in life. Only one in four children in the region has access to early childhood learning, care, and stimulation. This means that they start first grade at a disadvantage, not ready to tackle the demands of primary education.

Another challenge is the quality of education. Even pupils who complete basic education face a slim chance of high-quality learning. This is despite the need for quality education to help prepare children with the skills, knowledge, values, and attitudes required for success in the 21st century.


Every child should complete a quality and relevant basic education. This is how we make it happen in West and Central Africa.

Illustration Education School

Access to Education

Quality education for all children lies at the heart of social and economic development. UNICEF supports countries to improve educational access through inclusive education, expansion of early learning programmes, Koranic education, vocational training and national data production.

Illustration: Education 05 570 T

Quality Learning

When it comes to education, quality is a must if we want to build a better future for the next generation. UNICEF and its partners work to improve teaching skills, quality standards, life skills programmes and early learning assessments.


Girls’ Education

Educated girls are vital for the health and prosperity of families, communities and countries. UNICEF helps countries to develop and implement programmes that support girls’ achievements in and through education.


Education in Emergencies

In the midst of conflict and disaster, education can be both life-sustaining and life-saving. UNICEF works alongside other partners on risk-informed education programming, school safety, psychosocial support in the classroom and information management in emergencies.