13 January 2008

Universal primary education by 2015: A goal out of reach?

The new UNICEF publication Progress for Children compares data on children out of school by UNESCO and UNICEF. According to UNESCO, 72 million children of primary school age were out of school in 2005, down from 96 million in 1999. UNICEF estimates that 93 million children were out of school in 2005/2006, down from 115 million in 2002. Although both sets of data show a decline in the number of children out of school, they also indicate that the Millennium Development Goal of universal primary education by 2015 may be out of reach.

The graph below plots trend data on the number of children out of school calculated by UNESCO for the period 1999-2005 and by UNICEF for the period 2002-2006. (The 2002 estimate in the latter trend line is based on joint work by UNICEF and the UNESCO Institute for Statistics.) If we assume that the reduction in the number of children out of school continues at the same average rate as over the past years, more than 30 to 40 million children will still be out of school by 2015 and the international community will have failed in its efforts to secure primary education for all children.

Children out of school, 1999-2015
Graph with trend data on number of children out of school, 1999-2015
Data sources: UIS (2005), UNESCO (2007), UNICEF (2007).

  • UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS). 2005. Children out of school: Measuring exclusion from primary education. Montreal: UIS. (Download in PDF format, 4.9 MB)
  • UNESCO. 2007. Education for all by 2015: Will we make it? - EFA global monitoring report 2008. Paris: UNESCO. (Download in PDF format, 11.8 MB)
  • UNICEF. 2007. Progress for Children: A World Fit for Children Statistical Review. New York: UNICEF. (Download in PDF format, 3.6 MB)
Related articles
External links
Friedrich Huebler, 13 January 2008 (edited 8 February 2009), Creative Commons License
Permanent URL: http://huebler.blogspot.com/2008/01/universal-primary-education-by-2015.html

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