Education is the key to a better future, a route out of poverty, and a fundamental human right. But around the world, over 60 million children are still missing out on school.
Printable education fact sheets adapted for primary and secondary use can be found in our resources section.
A global promise
In 2000, over 180 countries signed up to a set of commitments for a better world, to tackle issues such as hunger and poverty. These Millennium Development Goals included a goal of education for all.
“Ensure that, by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling”
Progress so far
In 2000 an estimated 110 million children were missing out on school. The number of children out of school has fallen by almost 50 million since then.
A lot of progress was made when some countries, such as Burundi, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Malawi, Nepal and Tanzania, stopped charging school fees. Many children went to school for the first time. For example, Tanzania has reduced the numbers of primary age children out of school from 3 million to a quarter of a million. This is a 91 per cent drop. See our Tanzania video: 3 years with the girls of Arusha.
But progress has stalled, and it is likely that 48 million children will still be out of school in 2015.
Why are children missing school?
Cost In many countries families have to pay school fees. And even where school is free, the cost of uniforms, books, travel and equipment may be more than families can afford. Read Mphatso and Ummi‘s stories.
Distance In rural areas there may simply be no school near enough.
Danger If there is war families may have to run away to safety, or children could even be forced to fight.
Drop-outs If the education isn’t very good, there isn’t much to encourage children to stay and learn. Huge classes, rickety buildings, no water supply, lack of toilets, lack of books: all these can contribute to high drop-out rates. Watch our Malawi video or read our Young Ambassadors’ Malawi diary.
Not enough trained teachers 1.7 million more trained teachers will be needed to deliver primary education for all children. Watch our campaign video.
More money is needed to tackle these issues. However rich countries are not delivering some of the aid they have promised, and some countries with many children out of school are not spending enough money on education, even when they can afford to.
Who is most likely to miss out?
- A third of all children out of school have a disability.
- 60% of all children out of school are girls.
- Half of the world’s out of school children live in communities where the language used in schools is different from the one spoken at home.
- Global Campaign for Education website
- Global Partnership for Education
- United Nations Millennium Development Goals
- Education For All global monitoring report