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121 million children and adolescents are out-of-school

#EVERYchild : Education
New UNESCO, UNICEF report shows why ‘business as usual’ won’t lead to universal primary or secondary education

LONDON/KUALA LUMPUR, 22 January 2015- Around 121 million children and adolescents between 6 to 15 years old are out-of-school, according to a new joint report from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics and UNICEF.

Titled ‘Fixing the Broken Promise of Education for All: Findings from the Global Initiative on Out-of-School Children”, the report reveals that adolescents are twice as likely to be out of school compared to primary school school children, despite the international community’s promise to achieve Education for All by 2015.

“To realise the promise of universal education for every child, we need a global commitment to invest in three areas: getting more children into primary school; helping more children – especially girls – stay in school through the secondary level; and improving the quality of the learning they receive throughout their schooling,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “There should be no debate among these priorities: we need to do all three, because the success of every child – and the impact of our investment in education – depends on all three.”

No fault of their own

Data from the report show that there has been almost no progress in reducing the number of out-of-school children since 2007. There is also a growing concern that previous gains in expanding access to education will erode without a major shift in policies and resources.

If current trends continue, 25 million children – 15 million girls and 10 million boys -- are likely to never set foot inside a classroom. The report also shows that as children get older, the risk that they will never start school or will drop out increases.

Out-of-school children most likely come from poor families, live in rural areas or live in conflict. Girls, undocumented children as well as children with disabilities are more often denied their right to an education out of no fault of their own.

Mounting pressure

As pressure mounts to include universal secondary education in the post-2015 global development agenda together with universal primary education, the report shows the way forward to break the barriers, often related to poverty, that keep children out of school.

UNESCO and UNICEF believe that new policies must focus specifically on the most marginalised children as part of larger efforts to improve access to and quality of education. The report calls for action to invest in better data and innovative tools that can help guide governments and donors to allocate their education funding more effectively and efficiently.

The report, funded by the Global Partnership for Education, was released earlier this week during the Education World Forum held in London from 18 to 21 January 2015.


Note to Editors:

Download the Reports & Other Resources
Full Report
Executive Summary
Explore the Data
Watch the Video

For more information, please contact:

Indra Kumari Nadchatram
UNICEF Media, Malaysia
+6012 292 6872,

Sasha Surandran
UNICEF Media, Malaysia
+6019 658 5160,





Report: Fixing the Broken Promise

All in School

Out-of-School Children Initiative

Agenda for EVERYchild


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