Education creates active citizens

Education empowers individually and the commnuity. Education diminishes differences between men and women, rich and poor, powerful and powerless and it gives persons from marginalized groups better opportunities to be active citizens.

554 million

children and youths are not attending school globally

12 million

girls are annually pulled out of school to be married


of all money for education goes to the poorest globally


countries where Oxfam work for free quality education

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Transformative education for a more equal world

Good-quality public education can be liberating for individuals, and it can act as a leveller and equalizer within society. However, highly unequal education system can also pull us further apart.

In most countries, children born into rich families will go to the best possible schools, very often being privately educated and will be given multiple opportunities to grow their inherited privilege. Girls and boys born into poverty, at the school gates already disadvantaged – if they arrive there at all. Pulled out of school before their brothers, millions more of the world’s poorest girls will continue to have their life chances stymied by an education that is all too brief.

Education is a human right and one of the most important conditions for long-term development.
Oxfam Denmark
Skoleklasse i Sydafrika
School class in South Africa.
Photo : Anne Hefting

Educational inequalities are driven by lack of funding and by policies that encourage commercialization of education, which can deepen segregation and stratification in education systems. When good education can only be accessed by families with money, it undermines social mobility; it ensures that if you are born poor, you and your children will die poor, no matter how hard you work. It also undermines our societies, as the children of the wealthy are segregated from the children of ordinary families from an early age. While schooling remains segregated by class, wealth, ethnicity, gender or other signifiers of privilege and exclusion, this cements inequality. Segregated patterns of schooling build segregated communities, driving a wedge between the haves and the have-nots, right at the start of life.

Conversely, good-quality public education for all can be a powerful engine for greater equality.

Oxfam Denmark works across the world in fragile and stabile contexts, at regional and global levels to support local civil society, teachers, pupils, student, parents and communities to create better quality education systems that reaches every learner, supports teachers and ensures the necessary funding to

Oxfam Denmark fights for a transformative education that leaves the students with better opportunities to help create a more equal society and fight for the rights of all.

This includes:

  • Advocating for (and support) free public quality education, where governments and other decision makers are held accountable for ensuring inclusive and resilient education systems that can deal with inequalities, climate crisis and fragility.

  • Fighting for adequate and equitable public financing (both aid and domestic resources) which supports delivery of quality education at all levels through primary, secondary and technical and vocational education and training.

  • Supporting active citizenship & accountable governance through young people’s and women’s empowerment and leadership as well as capacity strengthening of civil society for voice and agency in education policy and practice.

  • Influencing education systems to become more gender transformative, where learners, teachers, communities, local authorities, and policy makers are empowered to challenge harmful gender norms and practices for all learners to claim their rights and become drivers of progressive change.

Quality is crucial

Most parents wish that their children can get a good education. When they send them to school they expect the teacher to be in class, well prepared for the lessons and that it can be realized in a safe environment. In other words the expect the students to receive a quality education in school.

It is not always possible. Maybe the teacher doesn't speak the students' language, which is the case in many Latin American and African village schools. Perhaps there is a lack of educated teachers, teaching materials and the classes are too large to be able to carry out good teaching.

We believe that quality education includes:

Well qualified teachers, teaching in the mother tongue, intercultural teaching, relevant and challenging teaching materials, and not least teaching in subjects that prepare the participants to become active citizens.

How Oxfam Denmark work for quality education for everyone

  • We fight for transformative education that challenges power and norms and gives students tools that can enable them to change the world
  • We want to ensure education that challenges and changes negative gender norms and stereotypes and ensures that girls' futures are as bright as boys'
  • We want to improve the quality of education so that children and young people learn both to read and write and to change the world, think creatively and demand their rights
  • We want to ensure national and international funding of education so all children and young people can go to school
  • We want parents to have the capacity to contribute to administrative and political decisions regarding their children's schooling
  • We demand that the authorities understand their responsibilities and ensure that the budgets set aside for education benefit all the planned educational activities for children, young people and adults

Your donation can change lives

Oxfam Denmark collaborates with and supports grassroots organizations worldwide in demanding quality education for all. And we experience improvement. The number of children and young people attending school is steadily increasing, but unfortunately the quality is not keeping up and far too many children, young people and adults in the world still cannot read and write. The right to a good education requires political changes.

Quality education gives hope and possibilities
Education Out Loud is the world's largest fund supporting civil education organizations. The foundation supports civil society organizations in more than 60 countries, mainly in Africa, Asia, South and Central America, and aims to strengthen the capacity of civil societies to engage in planning, political dialogue and monitoring of education policy. Oxfam Denmark manages the Education Out Load fund.
Read about Global Partnership for Education
The Hempel Foundation and Oxfam Denmark help children with getting a good education
Far too many poor children of indigenous people never get a good education - especially the girls stop to early. Together with the Hempel Foundation, we are in the process of changing that for 10,000 children of indigenous people in Bolivia and Guatemala.
Read about the project