Priorities

© UNICEF/NYHQ2011-0126/Noorani

Temporary learning centre in the flood-affected village of Fakir Jo Ghot, in Thatta District, Sindh Province, Pakistan. 2011.

The 3 Priorities:

The Initiative's main priorities are to expand access to education, improve the quality of learning, and foster global citizenship.

Priority 1: Put Every Child in School

Education is the great driver of social, economic and political progress. As people learn to read, count and reason critically, their prospects for health and prosperity expand exponentially. But our advances in education have not benefited everyone equally—and primary school enrolment rates tell only part of the regrettable story. Millions of children who start primary school are unable to finish, and still more miss out on high school. Today, some 71 million young people—including half of all adolescents in low-income countries—are receiving no post-primary education. We can no longer afford the cost of excluding them.

Priority 2: Improve the Quality of Learning

School attendance should open pathways of learning and discovery, but too often it doesn’t. Millions of children go through school and come out without basic literacy and numeracy. Education is ultimately judged by what people learn. Many students around the world are banking their futures on poorly trained, weakly motivated teachers without enough books and other basics to facilitate their learning. This is grave disservice not only to the students themselves but to the parents who sacrifice to support them and the countries whose futures depend on them. While we strive to boost school attendance, we must ensure that our schools are engines of opportunity and not just idle warehouses.

Priority 3: Foster Global Citizenship

The world faces global challenges, which require global solutions. These interconnected global challenges call for far-reaching changes in how we think and act for the dignity of fellow human beings. It is not enough for education to produce individuals who can read, write and count. Education must be transformative and bring shared values to life. It must cultivate an active care for the world and for those with whom we share it. Education must also be relevant in answering the big questions of the day. Technological solutions, political regulation or financial instruments alone cannot achieve sustainable development. It requires transforming the way people think and act. Education must fully assume its central role in helping people to forge more just, peaceful, tolerant and inclusive societies. It must give people the understanding, skills and values they need to cooperate in resolving the interconnected challenges of the 21st Century.