As that the foundations they have built

As the deadline for the MillenniumDevelopment Goals approaching, post-2015 discussions were carried outgradually. In order to promote education even further beyond the primary stage,recent reports by UNICEF and some other related United Nations organizationshave highlighted every country’s need for universal secondary education, whichis vital for national economic prosperity and social well-being. However, manygovernments are finding that the foundations they have built for universalprimary education are not yet strong enough to enroll all children or keep themin the classroom, let alone lift them to the next stage of their schooling.Therefore achieving universal primary education is still one of the mostsignificant goals for UNICEF, especially primary education access for thosemarginalized children around the globe.UNICEF recognizes that althoughdifferent countries need policies tailored to their specific circumstances,every country is required to renew its commitment. At the same time, necessaryresources including both human and financial are needed to fix the brokenpromise of universal primary education. UNICEF has divided all countries in totwo separate kinds, one is those countries which are near the goal of universalprimary education, the other is those where huge proportions  of children of primary school age are still out of school.

For countries ofthe first kind, they must strive to break down the existent barriers faced bythe most marginalized children. And for countries with a long way to travel, itis their top priority to finance their finds in order to expand and improveeducation systems as a whole. When the problem is viewed from thesupply side, UNICEF believes that the abolition of school fees can be a crucialfirst step. However, government grants to schools and formula funding should beappropriately balanced to ensure that primary schools can efficiently cope withthe influx of new students.

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Also, fee abolition alone may still not makeeducation affordable for the most marginalized and impoverished families. Thehidden costs from transportation and uniforms, to textbooks and stationary, aswell as the lost earnings from child labor, might outweigh the benefitsinterfering families from making the decision of sending their children to aschool with the education on offer is of poor quality. Therefore, it is time tomove beyond fee-free primary education to charge-free primary education for all children and their families.

On the demand side, UNICEF hasnoticed that cash transfers to reduce poverty have boosted enrolment for allbeneficiary children, particularly girls. However, cash transfers will workbetter in countries where they are already making a difference and preparingtheir expansion to more countries and regions rather than in faraway schoolswith few students attending. Moreover, the quality of the education on offerwill also shape the demand for education. If parents are convinced that theschool has well-trained and motivated teachers, relevant learning materials andhigh standards, and that their children will emerge with the skills they needfor a productive adulthood, the incentives for them to send their children andkeep them there will be much  higher. Lastly, as UNICEF emphasizes that nopolicies on out-of-school children will have work effectively with weakdelivery and governance systems.

There are some countries with sound policiesin place, but little of the intended effects has been recorded as a result ofinefficiency, corruption or low capacity at the local or district level.


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