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Home > Education > Out-of-school Children Accueil

Out-of-school Children 

UNICEF/UIS global initiative to reduce the number of children out of school



Data show that progress on reducing the number of children out-of-school has stalled. As of 2012, 58 million children of primary school age and another 63 million children of lower secondary school age were still out of school. There are also indications that progress towards universal primary education is slowing and that the goal will not be met by 2015 if current trends continue.




What is the role of the UIS and UNICEF in reducing the number of children out of school?


The UNICEF/UIS Global Initiative on Out-of-school Children is designed to accelerate efforts towards the goal of universal primary education by 2015. Policies and programmes to address the problem of exclusion from education and reduce inequalities remain inadequate in many countries. Moreover, there has been no systematic analysis to identify the bottlenecks on the path to universal primary education and explain why well-intentioned policies are not yielding robust results.


Underlying the policy gap is a data gap arising from the lack of adequate tools and methodologies to identify out-of-school children, monitor progress towards universal primary education, measure the scope of and assess the reasons for exclusion, and inform policy and planning. Above all, greater consensus is needed on estimates of the number children out of school. This requires improving the quality and consistency of data collected through administrative records and household surveys.

 Featured Content

Fixing the Broken Promise of Education for All – Findings from the Global Initiative on Out-of-School Children
Fixing the Broken Promise of Education for All – Executive Summary
Fact sheet: No progress in reducing global number of children out of school (2014)
eAtlas of Out-of-School Children
Fixing the Broken Promise of Education for All – Executive Summary
Fixing the Broken Promise of Education for All – Findings from the Global Initiative on Out-of-School Children
eAtlas of Out-of-School Children
Fact sheet: No progress in reducing global number of children out of school (2014)
Finishing School: A right for children's development, a joint effort (Executive Summary)
Fact sheet: Reaching out-of-school children (2013)
Global initiative on out-of-school children (UNICEF-UIS collaboration)
Information bulletin: Out-of-school adolescents
The UNICEF/UIS initiative aims to:  
  • improve information and analysis of statistical data on out-of-school children and develop complex profiles that reflect the multiple deprivations and disparities these children face in relation to education;
  • analyse existing interventions related to enhanced school participation, identify bottlenecks and develop context-appropriate policies and realistic strategies for increasing enrolment and sustaining attendance rates.

Based on consultations with diverse partners, 26 countries were selected for activities at the national level. The selection of these countries was made primarily on the basis of the relevance of the problem of out-of-school children and disparities in education. They include Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, Cambodia, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Romania, Sri Lanka, South Sudan, Sudan, Tajikistan, Timor-Leste, Turkey and Zambia.


The initiative has yielded a number of national and regional studies (see below). Based on the experiences and lessons learned from the UNICEF/UIS global initiative, two major publications will be produced: a global report on out-of-school children, and a guidance document with methodology to address the problem of out-of-school children.


The UIS and UNICEF are joined in the initiative by the Global Partnership for Education and Understanding Children’s Work (UCW), an interagency research project of ILO, UNICEF and the World Bank.


Global Report: 


"Fixing the Broken Promise of Education for All – Findings from the Global Initiative on Out-of-School Children". The report is available in English and the executive summary is available in Arabic, English, French and Spanish


Regional and country reports:


Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States:

Eastern and Southern Africa:

East Asia and the Pacific:

Latin America and the Caribbean:

South Asia:  

West and Central Africa:



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