Since its creation in 1945, UNESCO’s mission has been to contribute to the building of peace, poverty eradication, lasting development and intercultural dialogue, with education as one of its principal activities to achieve this goal. The Organization is committed to a holistic and humanistic vision of quality education worldwide, the realization of everyone’s right to education, and the belief that education plays a fundamental role in human, social and economic development.
UNESCO’s educational objectives are to:
- support the achievement of Education for All (EFA);
- provide global and regional leadership in education;
- strengthen education systems worldwide from early childhood to the adult years; and
- respond to contemporary global challenges through education.
UNESCO is the only United Nations agency with a mandate to cover all aspects of education. Its work encompasses educational development from pre-school through to higher education, including technical and vocational education and training, non-formal education and literacy. The Organization focuses on increasing equity and access, improving quality, and ensuring that education develops knowledge and skills in areas such as sustainable development, HIV and AIDS, human rights and gender equality. UNESCO works with governments and a wide range of partners to make education systems more effective through policy change. It coordinates the Education for All movement, tracks education trends and raises the profile of educational needs on global development agendas.
Educate A Child works with UNESCO to increase access and participation in primary schools for out of school children, with a particular focus on the Arab and Asia Pacific regions. Launched in 2012, the now complete EAC and UNESCO Iraq project targeted the enrolment of 30,000 out of school children over three years. In 2014, EAC and the UNESCO Asia Pacific Bureau for Education launched a project to strengthen education systems and enrol 50,000 out of school children in nine countries. In addition, in 2012, EAC and UNESCO concluded a broader institutional collaboration agreement focused on improving data collection, identifying bottlenecks and developing context appropriate results monitoring frameworks, policies and strategies aimed at reducing the number of out of school children in select countries.
In September 2012, the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, launched with world leaders the Global Education First Initiative (GEFI) with the primary objective of elevating the profile of education on the international agenda, spurring renewed efforts by countries, and mobilising resources to realise Education for All (EFA). The Initiative prioritised three focus areas: putting every child in school; improving the quality of learning; and fostering global citizenship
The EAC Partnership Iraq project is implemented by the UNESCO's Iraq office and seeks to enroll 30,000 out of school children in four governorates of Iraq in quality primary education programs.