Plan International believes that education should be available and accessible to all girls and boys. Every child must be able to access and complete an inclusive, quality pre-primary, primary and secondary education in order to meet not only the the Global Goal for education, but all Global Goals by 2030.
To achieve this, the international community, local governments and the private sector must fund quality education, to lift up and support the girls and boys who are least likely to be able to access education.
Quality education for girls
Plan International believes that education is the key to unlocking girls’ potential, and one of the most effective interventions for achieving development goals. Every girl has an equal right to complete a quality education, in safe school environments that are free from gender bias. Education must challenge discriminatory social norms and promote gender equality.
Plan International will continue to work to ensure that girls’ education is a priority issue globally and that gender equality is advanced in and through education.
We commit to prioritising the removal of gendered barriers to girls’ access to and completion of education, such as poor sanitation and menstrual hygiene management facilities, early pregnancy and childcare, and child marriage.
Inclusive education for all
Plan International believes that mainstream education systems can and should be adapted to meet the needs of all learners, and should offer learning opportunities for every child. Children with disabilities have an equal right to access an inclusive, quality education, and a right to the support and adaptations necessary to facilitate their learning.
Likewise, no child should be denied the right to access and complete an inclusive, quality education due to poverty - and recognises that poverty exacerbates the likelihood of exclusion for girls or children with disabilities.
Education in emergencies
Plan International believes that no child should be denied their right to an education due to conflict and disaster. This fundamental right must be protected before, during and after an emergency, including for displaced children, refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced persons, to ensure educational continuity.
We believe that education in emergencies is crucial to maintaining a sense of normalcy in children’s lives, to provide safe, supportive spaces for children, and for equipping children with the skills and knowledge they need to negotiate their present and future circumstances. Girls’ education during times of crisis is particularly important and can protect them from trafficking, forced marriage and other forms of abuse and exploitation.
Education free from violence
Plan International asserts that every child has the right to learn in a safe and secure environment, free from the fear or threat of violence. This is an inseparable aspect of a quality education.
We believe it is unacceptable that any child should be a victim of violence of any description either in school, or on the journey to and from school – including sexual violence or harassment, bullying and intimidation, and corporal punishment. We recognise that school-related gender-based violence is a significant factor preventing girls from accessing and completing school and are committed to eliminating such violence through our advocacy and programming work.
What is quality education comprised of?
Quality education should provide children and young people with the necessary skills and knowledge, attitudes and behaviours to lead positive and productive lives. Quality education should include not only literacy and numeracy but also wider life skills that empower them to be leaders and change-makers. Comprehensive sexuality education is a key element of quality education and provides girls, in particular, with the skills and knowledge to make decisions about their bodies and futures.
In addition, Plan international recognises that non-formal education can ensure that out-of-school children are able to access opportunities. In some cases non-formal education programs can bridge children back into the formal education system. For young mothers or girls who have been married early, non-formal education can address their unique needs.
In addition, we believe that early childhood care and pre-primary education are vital components of a quality education that are of critical value for the early socialisation of gender equality. A quality education must gender-sensitive at a minimum and aim to be gender transformative by transforming harmful gender stereotypes, norms and biases in schools and in society more broadly.