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Out-of-School Children Initiative

By the end of 2013, almost 65 million adolescents between the ages of 12 to 15 years old were denied their right to an education, in addition to 59 million children of primary education that were out of school.

Business as usual has not provided educational opportunities to world’s most marginalized children. The Out-of-School Children Initiative is one of the ways UNICEF does things differently.

A partnership

The initiative is a partnership between UNICEF and the UNESCO Institute for Statistics with support from the Global Partnership for Education. It works with more than 50 countries to ensure that children have access to a good education, are ready to enter the classroom at the right age and are equipped to complete primary school.

The initiative’s goal is to reduce the number of children who are out of school around the world by:

  • Developing comprehensive profiles of excluded children using consistent and innovative statistical methods;
  • Linking these profiles to the barriers that lead to exclusion;
  • Identifying, promoting and implementing sound policies that address exclusion.

Some major factors influencing the number of out-of-school children globally are visualized below.

Data driven

Data has been the cornerstone of the Out-of-School Children Initiative. The initiative collects data from diverse sources including education data, health data, regional surveys and population surveys. It counts, identifies and profiles the ‘invisible’ children who are not in school. The data are analysed to determine barriers that keep children from enrolling or lead them to drop out. The analyses are used to recommend policies and interventions tailored to the needs of localities, countries and regions. 

The way forward

UNESCO and UNICEF believe that in order to provide basic education for every child, new policies must focus specifically on the most marginalised children as part of larger efforts to improve access to and quality of education. To do this, governments need robust information on who these children are, where they live, whether they have ever attended school and if they are likely to do so in the future. 

The initiative calls for action to invest in better data and demonstrates that reaching the most marginalized may initially cost more but also yields greater benefits. Better statistics and innovative tools can help guide governments and donors to allocate their education funding more effectively and efficiently.

Read Out-of-School Children Data Release 2015, published on July 6, 2015

Read Fixing the Broken Promise of Education for All: Findings from the Global Initiative on Out-of-School Children, published on January 19, 2015

To find out more about how factors such as poverty, gender and location can affect a child’s chances of attaining basic education, go to: http://allinschool.org/

To access regional and country reports and other resources on out-of-school children, go to: http://allinschool.org/resources/




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