|© UNICEF/NYHQ2011-0455/de Viguerie|
|A girl leans on a tree in a camp for returnees in the town of Agok in Southern Sudan, near the contested border area of Abyei.|
Over the last decade, 41 million more children who would be out of school are now receiving an education – a tremendous achievement. Through key initiatives by development partners, disadvantaged children who would otherwise be further marginalized now have the opportunity to reach their full potential.
Yet, progress towards universal primary education has slowed in recent years. Data indicate that 61 million primary school aged children were out of school in 2010; more than half of them were girls. The number of lower-secondary school aged children out of school was even higher - 71 million in 2010.
The issue of out-of-school children needs to continue to be a high priority within the Education for All agenda and for the world community. Without bold and sustained action on this issue, global commitments to universal primary education will not be realized if current trends continue, leaving millions of children out of school and denied their right to education in 2015.
The Global Out-of-School Children Initiative (OOSCI), a key equity-focused effort, was launched in 2010 by UNICEF and the UNESCO Institute for Statistics to accelerate efforts towards universal primary education by 2015.
The goal of OOSCI is to achieve a breakthrough in reducing the number of out-of-school children as well as to address disparities in access and attendance. More specifically, the objectives are to:
- improve data and analysis on the issue of out-of-school children and develop comprehensive profiles of these children that reflect the multiple deprivations and disparities they face in relation to education;
- identify bottlenecks related to enhanced school participation; and
- develop context-appropriate policies and strategies for accelerating and scaling enrolment and sustaining attendance rates for excluded and marginalized children.
The Initiative has country, regional and global dimensions and aims to achieve research-, action-oriented and capacity-development related results. It will yield country and regional studies, a global report on out-of-school children, and a guidance document for countries on methodology.
OOSCI country teams represent diverse stakeholders in education and are led by government partners. The OOSCI country-based activities will contribute to ongoing education sector planning and reform efforts as well as annual sector and budget reviews, within the framework of the Global Partnership for Education processes and other sector-wide approaches. Understanding Children’s Work, an inter-agency research cooperation initiative between the International Labour Organization, UNICEF and the World Bank, supports analytical linkages with child labour issues.
Twenty-five countries from seven regions are presently engaged in the Initiative, nine of which are Global Partnership for Education countries.
• East Asia and the Pacific: Cambodia, Indonesia, Philippines, Timor-Leste.
• South Asia: Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka.
• Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States: Kyrgyzstan, Romania, Tajikistan, Turkey.
• Middle East and North Africa: Morocco, North Sudan, South Sudan.
• Eastern and Southern Africa: Ethiopia, Mozambique, Zambia.
• West and Central Africa: Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria.
• Latin American and the Caribbean: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico.
These 25 countries reflect the magnitude of the problem of out-of-school children as well as high disparities in education.
Bolivia OOSCI, Full report in Spanish
Ghana OOSCI, Full report in English
Kyrgyzstan OOSCI, Full report in English
Romania OOSCI, Full report in English