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124 million out-of-school children in 2013

New estimates by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) show that approximately 124 million children and adolescents were out of school in 2013. Of this number, 59 million were of primary school age and 65 million were of lower secondary school age. The entrance ages and durations of primary and lower secondary education vary between countries, but primary school age is typically 6-11 years and lower secondary school age is typically 12-15 years.

The estimate for 2013 represents a decrease by 72 million from 2000, when about 196 million children and adolescents were out of school (see Figure 1). Most of this decrease occurred between 2000 and 2007 but since 2007 there has been hardly any progress in reducing the global out-of-school population. In the most recent period there was even a slight increase in the number of out-of-school children and adolescents.

Figure 1: Global number of out-of-school children, 2000-2013

Data source: UNESCO Institute for Statistics

The primary and lower secondary out-of-school rates in 2013 - the percentage of children in these age groups who were not enrolled in primary or secondary education - were 9% and 17%, respectively (see Figure 2). Adolescents of lower secondary school age were thus nearly twice as likely to be out of school as children of primary school age. For the combined population of primary and lower secondary age the out-of-school rate was 12% in 2013.

The trend in the out-of-school rate mirrors the evolution of the number of out-of-school children and adolescents. In 2000, the primary out-of-school rate was 15% and the lower secondary out-of-school rate was 25%. Like the number of out-of-school children, the out-of-school rate fell steadily until 2007 and has remained at nearly the same level since then.

In spite of the lack of progress towards lower out-of-school rates and numbers in recent years, the gap between boys and girls has continued to decrease. At the global level, girls are still more likely to be out of school than boys but the difference between the female and male out-of-school rates fell between 2000 and 2013 from 6 percentage points to 2 percentage points for primary-age children and from 5 percentage points to 1 percentage point for lower-secondary-age adolescents.

Figure 2: Global rate of out-of-school children, 2000-2013

Data source: UNESCO Institute for Statistics

Because of the lag between the collection of national enrollment figures and the release of global out-of-school estimates by the UIS the number of out-of-school children and adolescents in 2015 is not yet known. Nevertheless, it is already clear that the Education for All goal and Millennium Development Goal of universal primary education by 2015 cannot be reached.

A joint fact sheet by the UIS and the Education for All Global Monitoring Report contains more detailed analysis of the most recent out-of-school data and explains that current international aid for primary and secondary education is insufficient, especially for the world's poorest countries.

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Friedrich Huebler, 20 July 2015, Creative Commons License
Permanent URL: http://huebler.blogspot.com/2015/07/oos.html

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