Fact sheet on Education and Gender Equality
Education is a basic human right, vital to the development and well-being of individuals and societies as whole. UNICEF advocates quality basic education for all children — girls and boys — with an emphasis on gender equality and eliminating disparities of all kinds. UNICEF works with a range of local, national and international partners to realize the education and gender equality goals.
Education key data
- The number of children of primary school age not attending school fell from an estimated 115 million in 2002 to an estimated 101 million in 2007. Out of these, 53 million were girls.
- Worldwide, nearly 80 per cent of primary-school-age children attend school. In least developed countries, this figure is around 66 per cent. Primary school attendance is at nearly 61 per cent in West and Central Africa, nearly 70 per cent in Eastern and Southern Africa, 81 per cent in South Asia and 83 per cent in the Middle East and North Africa.
- The largest out-of-school population is in sub-Saharan Africa, where around 45.5 million children of primary school age are out of school. It is followed by South Asia (35 million), the Middle East and North Africa (6.7 million), East Asia and the Pacific (4.7 million) and Latin America and the Caribbean (4.2 million). (2007)
- Worldwide, only 49 per cent of children of secondary school age attend secondary school. The others are either still enrolled in primary schools or are out of school.
- Gender gaps in primary school attendance have almost closed in regions such as East Asia and the Pacific (primary school net enrolment rate is at 98 per cent for boys and 97 per cent for girls; net attendance rate is at 88 per cent for boys and 88 per cent for girls) and Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (primary school net enrolment rate is at 92 per cent for boys and 90 per cent for girls; net attendance rate is 94 per cent for boys and 92 per cent for girls). In Eastern and Southern Africa there are more girls attending primary school than boys (primary school net enrolment rate is at 83 per cent for boys and 82 per cent for girls; net attendance rate is 69 per cent for boys and 70 per cent for girls).