The country is on-track to achieving many of its Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Targets. To date, the ones pertaining to extreme poverty, malnutrition, literacy, gender equality, births attended by health staff, protected areas, and consumption of chlorofluorocarbons have been reached. Despite this progress, important objectives related to education will not be reached by 2015.

Primary school net enrolment ratio has been 82% , with no difference between genders. In addition, there are many challenges to preschool and secondary education, where net enrolment ratios are 45.4% and 67.4%, respectively. The gross completion rate for primary school reached 90% in 2011, but at the secondary school level was only 56%.

With regards to gender equity in education, in some specific rural areas many boys, but mostly girls, do not have access to education due to poverty conditions. Indigenous girls form part of a quadruple exclusion threat since they are excluded for being poor, rural, indigenous, and for being women. In terms of secondary education completion at corresponding ages, there are gender differences, where boys have lower probabilities of completing schooling but gender stereotypes in school curricula and relationships between genders affect mostly girls.

On the other hand, Article 12 of the Law 070 mandates early childhood education for children 0 to 6 years, including family- and community-based non-formal educational services for children under-three, all under the responsibility of the education sector. Since there are no precedents for this in the country, there is a challenging need to develop regulatory and management mechanisms of services, as well as mechanisms for follow up and monitoring of results. There continue to be challenges in coordinating efforts and work at the central, departmental and municipal levels in order to obtain more articulated management, as mandated by the legal framework of the new Education Law.

One of the Ministry’s strategies to improve access and attendance rates in all educational levels focuses on the payment of the Juancito Pinto Bonus for every child matriculated in school. In 2013, 376,000 boys and girls from 14,000 schools benefitted from this payment. It is believed that the Bonus is attributed for good retention results, mainly in primary education, but there is no formal analysis looking into this claim or the narrowing of equity gaps.

In the country, various strategies have been developed to improve access to and quality education for children and adolescents, but the existence of internal gaps reflects the need for higher impact evidence-based to reach the excluded groups. In order to effectively steer policies directed at improving education outcomes of Bolivian children, the GoB, through the technical assistance and institutional capacity building offered by UNICEF, needs the continued support and cooperation of international networks made up of the international donor community and the United Nations.

UNICEF in action

In order to achieve the objectives of 1) improved learning outcomes, and (2) equitable and inclusive education, UNICEF Bolivia focuses on the following key actions:

  • Strengthening the institutional capacity and the analysis of the educational system in order to improve decision making and dialogue within the system that allow the implementation of cost effective educative programs;
  • Strengthening of national and subnational capacity of the education partners, in planning and budgeting based on equity approaches;
  • Supporting the establishment of community social participation at local and regional levels;
  • Promoting and supporting the participation and empowerment of rural and indigenous-based organizations with a special focus on women and adolescent girls;
  • Supporting the development and implementation of local education models that may help overcome the barriers and bottle necks and, thus, improve the quality of education; Improving technical institutional capacities of the sector with emphasis on the Departmental and municipal levels in order to contribute to the development and implementation of monitoring systems to address the most excluded
  • Promoting and supporting adolescents’ participation for reducing discrimination and stigma towards adolescents MSM (men having sex with men)
  • Continuing advocacy efforts, as well as technical assistance to strengthen the planning and management capabilities within the education sector at subnational level (departmental and municipal);
  • Documenting lessons learned to improve governance, services and resource allocation; including South to South Cooperation.

With human rights, gender- mainstreaming and equity as overarching approaches, the programme will use a mix of the above-mentioned strategic lines of action.

Additionally, UNICEF will use innovative strategies and models such as situation analyses for equity, to better identify implementation barriers that should be removed in order to optimize expected outcomes.


Outcome: Increased access to, learning and completion of culturally appropriate early learning, pre-primary, primary and lower secondary education at the right age.

Output 1.1: Children and families from indigenous and vulnerable populations have access to non-formal education and culturally appropriate integral early childhood development

Output 1.2: Children and adolescents from indigenous and vulnerable population have benefited from strategies of participatory management, quality and comprehensive pedagogy as part of new educative model and intercultural and multilingual policies

Strategic Approach

In line with its Strategic Plan 2014-2017, UNICEF seeks to strengthen a combination of strategies in order to better achieve results for children: providing equitable delivery of interventions; improving authorities, teachers and caregivers knowledge of high-impact interventions; improving the quality and use of data for making decisions; ensuring better integration of education services with other services and interventions being provided to mothers, newborns and children; promoting policy dialogue and advocacy and communication for development; harboring innovative approaches; and strengthening partnerships at all levels.

Within the 2013-2017 Country Programme, and aiming at the achievement of the above-mentioned results, the strategic approaches to the Education work of UNICEF in Bolivia include: continuing focus on access and learning in primary education; strengthening of systems to provide multiple and alternative pathways for disadvantaged and excluded children, including children with disabilities and girls, with an emphasis on learning outcomes; increasing attention to early childhood development; renewing involvement in secondary education; strengthening understanding and best practices in education; supporting innovations with the potential to rapidly improve education outcomes for marginalized children, such as multilingual education, right-age enrolment, child-centered pedagogy and technology; supporting the generation of knowledge and data on education disparities; and reinforcing government and community capacity to monitor and improve access to and quality of education.

The intervention strategy is based on equity principles including a social commitment to the vulnerable population living in rural areas. The strategy seeks to sustainably scale-up the implementation of community and participatory approaches for access to improved services.


Being able to partner effectively and efficiently to enhance results for children, based on the UNICEF comparative advantage and shared commitments to common principles and results, has never been more important. Strategic partnerships will continue to play a central role in advancing results for children with equity and UNICEF will continue its long-standing practice of building capacity through partnerships with national and local governments, civil society, academic institutions and the private sector, reducing the dependence of donors and other actors on development assistance over time.

The main partners supporting the Education Component of the Country Programme are:

  • Ministry of Education
  • Rural and indigenous community organizations
  • Municipal governments, bilateral and multilateral cooperation agencies
  • Global programme partnerships, such as The Global Partnership for Education, will also continue to be a cornerstone of UNICEF programmatic engagement, advocacy and leveraging of funds.

Budget estimate

Strategic Lines of Action 2016 2017 Total
Children and families from indigenous and vulnerable populations have access to non-formal education and culturally appropriate integral early childhood development 1,200,000 600,000 1,800,000
Children and adolescents from indigenous and vulnerable population have benefited from strategies of participatory management, quality and comprehensive pedagogy as part of new educative model and intercultural and multilingual policies. 2,280,000 1,140,000 3,420,000
Total $3,480,000 $1,740,000 $5,220,000