World has zero chance of hitting education targets, warns UN

An estimated 58 million children worldwide are not going to school, meaning that there is “no chance whatsoever” that the millennium development goal of achieving universal primary education by 2015 will be met, the UN has admitted.

According to Unesco, the situation is particularly dire in sub-Saharan Africa, where a population boom has left more than 30 million children out of school. More than a third of children in the region who entered the education system in 2012 will leave before reaching the final year of primary school. The UN also noted that it was not just young children who were missing out on schooling: 63 million teenagers worldwide were out of school in 2012.

Despite the bleak prognosis, Unesco points out that there are ways to remedy the situation. Burundi’s decision to abolish school fees in 2005 helped the proportion of children enrolled in primary school rise from 54% to 94% in six years. Ghana’s doubling of its education spending drove the number of children enrolled in school from 2.4 million in 1999 to 4.1 million last year.

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The race for an education in Nepal has helped the regions most affected by conflict attain the same levels of school access as less violent areas. Photograph: EPA

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