More than half the world’s school-aged children are not learning. Across the world, the most deprived, marginalised and disadvantaged children are the most affected by this global learning crisis, such as those caught up in emergencies, facing extreme poverty or discriminated against because of their gender, disability, ethnicity or religion.

Education saves lives, ensures that children gain the skills necessary to learn, provides protection, and builds peace and stability globally. Save the Children uses programmes that are proven to tackle the barriers to children’s learning, with a focus on the most deprived children. We influence global and national policy to improve children’s access to quality education, from pre-school care through to adulthood. Specifically, we focus on three areas:

  • Start early: We will work with families and communities in the years leading up to school to improve child development outcomes and establish the foundations for learning.
  • Foundational learning: We will strengthen the quality of education so children in the early grades learn to read, write and use numbers in environments that promote their wellbeing.
  • Uninterrupted learning: We will ensure no child’s learning stops because they are caught up in crisis.


Girls displaced from their homes by conflict in north-western Pakistan dance with local children at Save the Children's temporary learning space in Peshawar District, Pakistan. Save the Children

Research shows that many children in developing countries struggle to learn to read. To address this, our innovative Literacy Boost programme supports basic reading skills among young children. After successes in Malawi, Nepal, Mozambique and Pakistan, we are expanding the programme to benefit tens of thousands of children. As well as training teachers to be more effective, Literacy Boost involves whole communities in promoting reading through activities such as reading camps and reading buddy schemes.

We deliver education programmes to reach children who are missing out on school. For example, we run one of the largest community education programmes in Bangladesh, giving out-of-school children access to education in community centres and youth clubs. These children attend more classes and achieve higher grades than their peers in formal primary school.

With UNICEF, we coordinate providing education to children during emergencies, ensuring that particularly vulnerable children don’t miss out on the benefits that education brings. Read our joint letter of recommendation around education in emergencies. 

For more information on our Education work, please visit our Resources page.

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