UNESCO reports 244M children will not start school this year

By Samhar Almomani on Sep 26, 2022

“A new school year is starting in many parts of the world. This news should bring us joy, but it also reminds us that deep inequalities persist in access to education: 244 million of children are still out of school,” said Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director- General. “No one can accept this situation. Education is a right and we must do everything to ensure that this right is respected for every child” (2022).

In new estimates published by UNESCO, it is evident that the many global inequities that have plagued the world are still persistent. The “Visualizing Indicators of Education for the World (VIEW) report provides estimates of two major flagship indicators: out-of -school and completion rates. 98 million children will be out of school this year in sub-Saharan Africa, making it the region with the most children and youth missing out on their education (2022).

The out-of-school rate is defined, as per the VIEW report, as the proportion of children and young people in the official age range for the given level of education who are not enrolled in pre-primary, primary, secondary, or higher levels of education. This indicator showcases the number of children and youth within a country or a region that are within the age to be enrolled in school, but due to a number of circumstances, are not able to be enrolled in any education system. The out-of-school rate is able to be reported in two different ways. It could either be “a percentage of the population in the official age range for a given level of education” or the” total number of children and young people out-of-school” (UNESCO-VIEW, 2022). The region is also the only region where the number of children out-of-school is increasing as a result of the out-of-school rate falling much slower than the rate that the school-age population is growing at (UNESCO,2022).

Central and Southern Asia follow as the region with the second highest out-of-school populations, with 87 million students being out of school (UNESCO,2022).

“In view of these results, the objective of quality education for all by 2030, set by the United Nations, risks not being achieved. We need a global mobilization to place education at the top of the international agenda,” said Azoulay. In a September 19 Transforming Education Summit, Azoulay will renew the call to bring education for all by 2030 in front of Heads of State and Governments (2022).

The report has some good news pertaining to the gender gap closing. The difference in the rate of girls and boys out of school has seemed to close worldwide. Gaps of 2.5 percentage points among primary school children worldwide and of 3.9 percentage points among upper secondary school age youth in 2000 have been reduced to zero, which is a huge milestone that many women’s rights and children’s rights activists are celebrating. With that being said, the report also points to some regional disparities persisting (UNESCO-VIEW, 2022).

Children in these regions who have disabilities will undoubtedly face more challenges that will hinder their education and may eventually lead them to drop out of school, setting them to a life of career and financial instability. Many low-income countries are unable to provide the support system and safety net that will help children with disabilities stay in school. Here in WFCF, one of our core missions is providing help for orphaned children with disabilities. Our past projects have helped children with disabilities all over the world, and we hope to continue our work. You, too, can help us achieve our mission by donating today!


UNESCO-VIEW. (n.d.). VIEW. GEM Report VIEW – Visualizing Indicators of Education for the World. https://education-estimates.org/

UNESCO. (2022, September 9). 244m children won't start The New School Year (UNESCO). UNESCO.org. https://www.unesco.org/en/articles/244m-children-wont-start-new-school-year-unesco

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