Education is a Right | UNICEF USA
 

UNICEF helps hundreds of millions of out-of-school children continue their education — through community-based schools, both in-person and remote learning support and other programs — reaching more children than ever. UNICEF helps hundreds of millions of out-of-school children continue their education.

And more and more kids need UNICEF's support:

  • Learning poverty predates the COVID-19 crisis, and has only deepened since: it is estimated that 70 percent of 10-year-olds in low- and middle-income countries are unable to read and understand a simple story.
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, hundreds of millions of children were left with no access to education for extended periods of time; even those who were able to continue learning remotely suffered learning losses and are still playing catch up.
  • Prolonged disruptions in education have put tens of millions of students at risk of dropping out permanently; when girls drop out of school, many are forced into early marriage.
  • Before the pandemic, roughly 230 million teens lacked the math and reading skills needed for jobs that could help lift them out of poverty — and then COVID-19 added more obstacles.
  • The pandemic and other crises such as severe drought in the Horn of Africa have pushed millions of families deeper into poverty, increasing economic pressures that lead to children to go to work instead of school.
  • Today's generation of school-aged children risks losing $17 trillion in lifetime earnings — up from $10 million estimated two years ago.

“I’m giving the best education, morals and values to my own child, and I’m trying to give the same quality education to each of my students.” Meet Sivajini Jeyaraj, a teacher in eastern Sri Lanka who got creative during the COVID-19 school closures. Most of her students don’t have cell phones, many kids' only way to connect to the nation’s e-learning portal from home. But by working with what most of them do have —TVs — Jeyaraj has found innovative ways to keep all her students learning.

"I’m giving the best education, morals and values to my own child, and I’m trying to give the same quality education to each of my students.” Meet Sivajini Jeyaraj, a teacher in eastern Sri Lanka who got creative during the COVID-19 school closures. Most of her students don’t have cell phones, many kids' only way to connect to the nation’s e-learning portal from home. But by working with what most of them do have —TVs — Jeyaraj has found innovative ways to keep all her students learning.

 

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  • UNICEF looks out for the most marginalized students: UNICEF makes sure that children in emergency situations can access education — including migrant and refugee children and other children on the move. 
  • UNICEF is an innovator: While schools were closed during the pandemic, UNICEF and partner Microsoft helped millions of students continue with their education through Learning Passport, an innovative digital education platform — and rapidly scaled the program to serve children displaced by the war in Ukraine.
  • UNICEF knows connectivity is power: UNICEF is a partner in Giga, a global initiative to connect every school in the world to the internet; efforts are well under way to provide millions of learners with free access to online educational content.
  • UNICEF supports girls’ rights and their futures: UNICEF works with governments and local partners to improve girls' enrollment in early learning, primary and secondary education.
  • UNICEF sets kids up for success: Helping children feel prepared and empowered to learn is a big part of UNICEF’s mission in education. Last year, 42.1 million children received learning materials and UNICEF-supported skills development programs benefited 33 million children in 91 countries.
  • UNICEF levels the playing field: millions of impoverished households benefited from cash assistance that helped them cover their basic needs, relieving the economic pressures that can force children to go to work instead of school.
  • UNICEF prioritizes the education of children with disabilities: Teacher training has helped make inclusive education a reality for children with disabilities in 54 percent of the countries where UNICEF works.
  • Last year, UNICEF provided 42.1 million children with learning materials
  • UNICEF and Microsoft continue to expand and adapt the Learning Passport education platform to help kids in emergencies keep learning 
  • UNICEF works with partners to increase girls' enrollment in early learning, primary or secondary education
  • Teacher training helped make education more inclusive for children with disabilities in 54 percent of the countries where UNICEF works

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Meet the UNICEF workers helping kids around the world

We won't stop until we bring good health to every child
We won't stop until every child has clean water
We won't stop until we help every child learn
We won't stop until we reach every child in crisis
We won't stop until we treat every malnourished child
We won't stop until we protect every child
We won't stop until every child has a voice

UNICEF: saving and changing lives

Thirteen-year-old Nanyonjo attended primary school in Eastern Uganda before COVID-19 lockdowns forced her to start listening to her math, science and English lessons on the radio. But thanks to an educational technology system UNICEF installed at her school, Nanyonjo has taken her education into her own hands.

Thirteen-year-old Nanyonjo attended primary school in Eastern Uganda before COVID-19 lockdowns forced her to start listening to her math, science and English lessons on the radio. But thanks to an educational technology system UNICEF installed at her school, Nanyonjo has taken her education into her own hands.