Millennium Development Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education
Target: Ensure that all boys and girls complete a full course of primary education
West and Central Africa has the highest prevalence of primary school-age children out of school. Although the region’s primary school-age population accounts for just 8% of the global total, the region has 20% of the world’s out-of-school children – the second highest share after South Asia. In absolute terms, 24 million out-of-school children live in the region. The proportion in the region is 45% - or almost every second child.
In a number of countries, the majority of school-age children are not in school, reaching as high as two-thirds of the relevant age group. As shown in the figure, in Burkina Faso, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger and Sierra Leone, the share of school-age children not in school ranges from 50% to 66%.
Source: UNICEF & UNESCO, Children Out Of School: Measuring Exclusion From Primary Education, Montreal, Quebec, 2005.