, Volume 44, Issue 3, pp 321–333 | Cite as

Equity in education: The case of UNICEF and the need for participative debate

  • Steven J. KleesEmail author
  • Omar Qargha


Equity is the most significant problem educators face. Very large inequities and inequalities persist in both education and society. Why? What can be done about them? While much has been written about these issues, progress is very slow and there is little agreement on why or what to do. While this article cannot resolve these questions, it raises five important issues concerning them: inter-agency contradictions concerning equity and global education policy; EFA and the MDGs; privatization and public-private partnerships; evidence-based policy; and the right to education. The article tackles the case of UNICEF, which has recently decided to focus its efforts on equity in education. In the conclusions which are drawn throughout, the article emphasizes the need for widespread, highly participative debates to answer the questions of why educators have made so little progress and what they can do to make more.


Equity Inequality Participation UNICEF Education for All World Bank UNESCO Millennium Development Goals Universal Primary Education Privatization Human rights Evidence-based policy Education reform Public-private partnerships 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of MarylandCollege ParkUSA
  2. 2.University of MarylandManassasUSA

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