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Around 63 million adolescents have been denied their right to education, making them twice as likely to be out of school than primary school-age children, according to a report published on Monday.
In total, 121 million children and adolescents have either never started school or have dropped out, with children living in conflict, child labourers and those facing discrimination because of ethnicity, gender and disability the most affected, the joint report by two UN agencies said.
The report, Fixing the Broken Promise of Education for All, was released at the start of a critical year for global development, with UN member states due to meet in New York in September to finalise a new set of targets – the sustainable development goals (SDGs) – to replace the millennium development goals (MDGs) that expire at the end of this year.
Under the MDGs, countries were asked to ensure that, by 2015, children everywhere would be able to complete a full course of primary schooling. UN figures show that the adjusted net enrolment rate for primary education rose from 88% in 1990 to 90% in 2012, but millions of children are still outside the education system.