Improving girls' access to education focus of UN Asia-Pacific meeting

Girls attending the community-based school in the village of Hussain Khel (file photo)

11 June 2008 – United Nations officials, government leaders and education experts are gathering in Kathmandu, Nepal, today for the start of a two-day conference examining how to improve gender equality in schools across the Asia-Pacific region.

The meeting has been set up by the Global Advisory Committee of the UN Girls Education Initiative (UNGEI) to measure the progress so far to boost girls' access to schooling, according to a press statement issued by the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) yesterday.

“We are working to address the complex challenges of making sure that all girls, no matter how marginalized they are or how hard-to-reach they can be, still enjoy their right to complete quality education,” said Cheryl Gregory Faye, head of UNGEI's Global Secretariat.

UNICEF said that while many countries across the Asia-Pacific region have made “tremendous strides” towards ensuring all their children have access to quality education, a persistent gender gap remains in enrolment, retention and performance.

Several countries in the region, including Cambodia, Laos, Nepal and Afghanistan, have recently introduced specific strategies or projects to promote girls' education.


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