The number of out-of-school children worldwide is on the rise

A recent UNESCO study shows that the number of out-of-school children worldwide is on the rise. According to the latest figures, 124 million are unable to attend school. At the Foundation, we are committed to reducing that number.

out-of-school children, unesco

A report published in July of this year by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) shows that the number of school aged children who do not attend school increased by 2.4 million between 2010 and 2013.
This figure, which had been dropping continuously since 2000, started increasing again at the start of this decade to reach today’s figure of 124 million out-of-school children. 30 million of them live in sub-Saharan Africa.

The UIS estimates that 24 million children will never receive an education. At the primary school level, 1 in 10 girls and 1 in 12 boys were unable to attend school in 2013. The figures are similar at the intermediate school level. The results highlight the tremendous impact of conflicts on the right to an education, particularly in Syria, where 2 million children were out of school in 2013. In 2010, virtually all of the country’s primary-school aged children were being educated.

Aid remains inadequate

The UIS report shows that despite a 6% increase in financial aid for education, it remains inadequate. According to the report, "without renewed commitments, assistance will continue to stagnate until at least 2017."

As a corporate Foundation with a priority commitment to education, it is our duty and our responsibility to contribute to funding for education. In Africa and Eastern Europe, we are rolling out a large-scale digital school programme to help village children who lack books and an internet connection access education.

Schoolchildren in front of their village school, Madagascar
Schoolchildren in front of their village school, Madagascar.
Madagascan children using tablets to access educational content
Madagascan children using tablets to access educational content.

The villages programme, launched in 2013, brings children better living conditions so they can focus on education: building a school as well as a healthcare centre and drinking water access point in each village, to keep families close to the school. To give just one example, the twelfth village in Madagascar was inaugurated in July. The resources provided through these two programmes currently make it possible for 200,000 children to attend school.

As the UIS report shows, the fight for universal education is far from over. We must continue to strive to improve access to education through our programmes and initiatives. It’s more than just a goal: it is our responsibility in the fullest sense of the term.

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