UN Secretary-General António Guterres has convened Transforming Education Summit to mobilize action and solutions, including to reverse learning losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The bell is ringing for the start of a new school year in many countries, but inequalities in access to education are keeping some 244 million children out of the classroom, according to data published on Thursday by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Sub-Saharan Africa remains the region with the most children out of school, 98 million, and it is also the only region where this number is increasing.
The Central and Southern Asia region has the second highest out-of-school population, with 85 million.
“No one can accept this situation,” said Audrey Azoulay, the UNESCO Director-General, underlining the need to respect every child’s right to education.
“In view of these results, the objective of quality education for all by 2030, set by the United Nations, risks not being achieved,” she warned. “We need a global mobilization to place education at the top of the international agenda.”
Ms. Azoulay will renew her call at the landmark Transforming Education Summit on 19 September, at UN Headquarters in New York.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres has convened the Summit to mobilize action and solutions, including to reverse learning losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On a more positive note, the UNESCO data has confirmed that the difference in the rate of girls and boys out of school has closed worldwide.
Back in 2000, the gender gap was 2.5 percentage points among primary school age children, and 3.9 percentage points among their upper secondary school counterparts.
These gaps have been reduced to zero, although regional disparities persist.
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