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Back to School

© UNICEF/Niger/2007/Pirozzi
In Niger, only one in two girls goes to primary school, one in ten to secondary school and one in fifty to high school.

October marks the start of the school year in many countries in the region.

Education is critical to the development of individuals and societies, and it contributes significantly to pave the way to a successful and productive future.

Yet, in West and Central Africa, according to latest data, 23.8 million children of primary-school-age are out of school.

In addition to having large numbers of children out of school, West and Central Africa has a yawning gender gap.  Less than 9 girls are in primary school for every 10 boys. An the gap is even larger for secondary school. Crippling poverty, long distances to school and social norms promoting gender inequality prevent girls from learning. Education is a fundamental human right: Every child is entitled to it.

The region also faces a poor quality of education due to a shortage of teachers, low teacher salaries and limited training and development opportunities for teachers. Out of five chilren enrolled in primary school, 2 will drop out without completing the cycle.

As a result, 30% of the young people (aged 15-24) do not know how to read and write. 

To ensure access to quality education for all, UNICEF support national education development plans and seeks to influence decision-making and investments to ensure that gender equity and quality of education are at the forefront of national and local development agendas.

Check out some examples of UNICEF-supported interventuions to promote an equitable access to quality education:



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