Countdown to 2015:

Goal 2


Success Stories

Public school enrolment in the most deprived districts and nationwide soared from 4.2 million to 5.4 million between 2004 and 2005.

In sub-Saharan Africa, school fees consume nearly a quarter of a poor family's income, paying not only for tuition, but also indirect fees such as Parent-Teacher Association and community contributions, textbook fees, compulsory uniforms and other charges. Fees are keeping school children out of the classrooms. Countries such as Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda have abolished school fees, which has led to a surge in enrolment: in Ghana, for example, public school enrolment in the most deprived districts and nationwide soared from 4.2 million to 5.4 million between 2004 and 2005. In Kenya, enrolment of primary school children increased dramatically with 1.2 million extra children in school in 2003 alone; by 2004, the number had climbed to 7.2 million, of which 84 percent were of primary school age. Drawing on the experience of African countries that have eliminated school fees, UNICEF, the World Bank, USAID and a range of partners are helping to develop a "How To" guide for countries seeking a breakthrough in universal basic education by abolishing school fees to develop educational systems that are inclusive, equitable and sustainable. But ending school fees is no magic wand: the surge in enrolment after abolition brings immense challenges to the entire learning infrastructure, from the physical building, to the class size, to the teachers. In order to deliver on the global promise to get all children quality primary education by 2015, the UN system is rallying partners around innovative policy measures and bold initiatives such as the abolition of school fees.

In Haiti, an effective collaboration between the government, UN agencies and NGOs changed the lives of 4,300 of the country's poorest children, thanks to an education project that provided school materials and supplies to 33 schools.

In Haiti, an effective collaboration between the government, UN agencies and NGOs changed the lives of 4,300 of the country's poorest children, thanks to an education project that provided school materials and supplies to 33 schools. Most of the children lived in the populated slum, Cité Soleil, an area where overpopulation, violence and insecurity are a daily reality. This rapid-impact project also promoted the right to education, in particular by encouraging and supporting school attendance and teachers' training. It was funded by a donation of US$70,000 from soccer stars Ronaldo and Zidane, both UNDP Goodwill Ambassadors.

Last updated 1 November 2007