"The rainbow is more
beautiful than the pot at the end of it, because the rainbow is now. And the
pot never turns out to be quite what I expected." Hugh Prather
CLOSING THE GENDER GAP IN EDUCATION
According to UNICEF, ...more than 130 million children in the world, the majority
of them girls, are not enrolled in schools. The girls who are enrolled must struggle
to learn against the pernicious gender bias so institutionalized and entrenched
that it pervades policies and practices, curricula and textbooks, and interactions
among teachers and students. UNICEF is committed to promoting "Education
for All," with these understandings about the importance of education...
"That educating children opens an infinity of possibilities for them that
they would otherwise be denied: a better chance to lead healthy and productive
lives, to build strong and nurturing families, to participate fully in the civic
affairs of their communities, molding mores and values, creating culture and shaping
"That when a nation strives to educate all its young people -- girls as well
as boys, the poor and the disadvantaged child as well as any other -- then that
nation lays a solid foundation for progress and sustainable development, catalyzing
freedom and democracy within its borders and extending its reach as an agent of
international peace and security.
"That education play a crucial role in solving the most complex problems
facing any country: child labour, HIV/AIDS, poverty and disparity, community violence
and civil conflict, and the devaluing of girls and women.
"That education's obvious usefulness to individuals and countries, while
a strong argument in support of its value, is secondary to the more fundamental
reason why it demands our attention. In truth, the world has no choice but to
pay heed and ensure a basic education of good quality to all children. Such is
their due as one of their inherent human rights.
"That ensuring children their right to education ensures their other rights
as well, including the rights to survival, development and participation.
"And that by ensuring girls their right to education, we take the critical
first step towards dismantling the gender discrimination that threatens all other
This declaration was
presented in the UNICEF publication "Education For All: No Excuses."
To order this publication and learn more about UNICEF's efforts to promote education,
go to www.unicef.org.