Education Global Theme

Education is one of five Global Themes prioritised by Save the Children to deliver its new strategy. The other areas are Child Protection, Child Rights Governance, Child Poverty, and Health & Nutrition.

Save the Children believes that all children have the right to learn from a quality basic education. Yet today, we face a global learning crisis. More than half of the world’s school-aged children - 617 million - are not learning. Moreover, around 1 in 4 children and youth live in countries affected by crisis where their learning is interrupted.

Save the Children is working to address the learning crisis. We work with families and communities to ensure that all children receive the support and care they need in the years leading up to school. Once in primary education, we work to ensure that all children learn to read and write in safe and happy learning spaces, and that no child’s learning stops because they are caught up in a crisis situation.

Education saves lives, protects, reduces inequality, and builds stable and prosperous societies. For example, a child born to a mother who can read is 50% more likely to survive past age five. Every additional year of formal schooling for males reduces the risk of their becoming involved in conflict by 20%. And, 171 million people could be lifted out of poverty if all students in low-income countries left school with basic reading skills, equal to a 12% cut in world poverty.

Therefore, Education is at the core of Save the Children’s mission and critical to achieving our breakthroughs:

  • No child dies from preventable causes before their fifth birthday.
  • All children learn from a quality basic education.
  • Violence against children is no longer tolerated.

Education and the SDGs

Education is also a promise in Sustainable Development Goal 4, and a prerequisite for achieving the other SDGs. SDG 4 states:

“Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”

It expands the focus from universal primary education to inclusive and equitable learning for all. The SDGs also include a target to ensure that all children have access to early childhood care and development and pre-primary education so that they are ready for primary school. 

Our Priority Areas

In 2016-18, Save the Children’s Education Global Theme prioritizes three areas:

  • Start Early: help children develop foundational learning skills in the years leading up to school;
  • Reading and Writing: Ensure children learn to read and write within the first 3 years of primary education in safe, quality learning spaces;
  • Uninterrupted Learning: Ensure no child's learning stops because they are caught up in a crisis situation.

To support the achievement of these outcomes for children, our work is divided into two sub-thematic areas:

Published 2017-03-23

Save the Children's Education Strategic Direction, 2016-2018

Lessons in Literacy: 8 principles to ensure every last child can read