Education is the key to a better future, a route out of poverty, and a fundamental human right. But around the world, over 263 million children are still missing out on school.
A global promise
World leaders have promised every child a quality, inclusive education by 2030 through their commitment to Sustainable Development Goal 4.
However, by current projections we won’t meet that target until 2084 – over 50 years late. Children are only children once, we are at risk of leaving a whole generation behind.
There are 263 million children and young people out of school: 61 million primary school age; 60 million lower secondary school age and 142 million upper secondary school age
Why are children missing school?
Disability Around 24 million children who are out of school have a disability. They might have difficulty in getting to school, or may need special support in the classroom which all too often is not available. Read Tasui’s story.
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.
Emergencies If there is war or a natural disaster families may have to run away to safety, or children could even be forced to fight. 65 million children are affected by emergencies and crisis around the world, experiencing disruption to their education. 37 million children are missing out on school on a longer term basis. Read Mohamed and Manju’s stories.
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 2.7 million more trained teachers are needed now to deliver primary education for all children.
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.
- 54% 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