To mark Day of African Child, UNICEF launches student surveys of absenteeism

15 June 2004
School girls taking part in the survey

On the eve of the Day of the African Child, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) today launched a global survey of the 121 million children who are not attending school that will be carried out by youngsters who are, with the aim of expanding enrolment everywhere.

“We want this project to start a chain reaction, whereby the children and their teachers will not only identify those out of school, but will also commit to getting them enrolled and helping them succeed,” UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy said.

The chain reaction would later draw in parents, communities, government ministries and external partners in drives to achieve education for all, she said.

In the Child-to-Child Survey (CTC), teams of schoolchildren would interview out-of-school children to find out why they were not enrolled. Reporting their results, they would call on communities and governments to place education for all at the top of their list of priorities.

The Surveys have already started in Ethiopia and other African countries, including Chad, Kenya, Malawi, Sudan and Zambia, were scheduled to start tackling the problem of getting 24 million African children into schools by rolling out their own versions of the CTC in the next few months.

Plans were also underway to make the CTC a worldwide project, starting later this year with South Asia.

With the African Union-sponsored Day of the African Child tomorrow focusing on the theme of “The Family,” Ms. Bellamy said achieving educational parity for girls would have far-reaching, positive effects, including ensuring that families would be healthier and stronger, today and in the future.


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