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UNESCO > Education > Primary Education
EDUCATION Primary Education


Africa | Arab States | Asia and Pacific | Europe and North America | Latin America


There is a clear need for relevant curricula in order to provide quality education. Socio-economic, political, cultural and technological changes are increasingly transforming educational practices across the world.

Curricula must be regularly reviewed and reformed to reflect these changes and to adequately prepare pupils to respond to their environment and its challenges.

Improved curricula, relevant to the life of the learner, can increase participation in schooling and improve the quality of the education provided. UNESCO is implementing a number of activities worldwide that include curriculum strategy, curriculum development and reform, textbook revision, training, and publications.


UNESCO International Bureau of Education (IBE) has a mandate to support and strengthen national capacity to lead and facilitate renewal of curricula and to adapt the content and methods of school education. The regional networking seminars, workshops and projects presented here provide a platform for promoting exchange and dialogue on national experiences. They are focused on a host of curriculum development issues ranging from management of curriculum reform, to content and methodological issues related to citizenship education, multiculturalism, social exclusion, violence, and learning to live together through the teaching of history and geography. More


New approaches to active pedagogical learning and innovative modalities need to be developed to encourage teachers to change from using a traditional lecture approach to a more interactive style of teaching. Pedagogical techniques should include participatory and gender-sensitive teaching and learning methods and strategies that foster critical thinking and problem-solving skills. They should instil in pupils willingness and motivation to continue learning beyond the classroom. UNESCO’s activities include training workshops in several countries on innovative teaching methods. More

Learning Materials

The shortage of relevant, low-cost books for use inside and outside school continues to pose challenges to providing quality Education for All. Uneven access to teaching and learning materials, inadequate provision of reading materials that develop vital literacy skills and unacceptable pupil/book ratios continue to exist in many countries. UNESCO provides support to selected Member States to formulate policies on textbooks provision and tools for the design of relevant teaching and learning materials for quality education. A global strategy focusing on the links between sustainable book production and quality education is currently under development. More

For more information contact Jean Bernard.


Many children are disadvantaged and excluded from quality education because they do not have the opportunity to learn in the language they best understand. Normally a national language is used in most educational settings. However, this can be a major obstacle in gaining literacy skills for those who do not speak it. UNESCO was the first UN agency to stipulate, in 1954, the importance of mother tongue education, and to advocate for more bi/multilingual language education. Action areas include guidance on the implementation of bi/multilingual education policies for national policy-makers and planners, language of instruction policies, elaboration of teaching-learning materials in national languages, promoting cultural and linguistic diversity, and use of the mother tongue (both in pupil and teacher training). More
  UNESCO & Primary Education
Programme Areas

  International commitments
The right to education
Education for All
Millenium Development Goals
Fast Track Initiative
UN Decades
Campaigns & Projects

Facts and figures
Selected Websites

Joint Programme for the Promotion of Basic Education for All Malagasy Children in Madagascar
Learning to read and write in a month!