High-level Event on the Millennium Development Goals, United Nations Headquarters, New York, 25 September 2008
WHERE DO WE STAND?
In all regions, inequalities in access to education continue to pose
major barriers to fully attaining the MDG 2 target of ensuring that, by
2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, can complete a full
course of primary schooling. (See also fact sheet on Goal 3 for more
information on girls’ schooling.)
Projections suggest that without further acceleration, 58 out of the
86 countries that have not yet reached universal primary education
will not achieve it by 2015. In all regions, inequalities in access to
education are a major barrier to reaching Goal 2. The children most
likely to drop out of school or to not attend at all are often girls and
those from poorer households or living in rural areas. For example,
recent estimations show that 25 per cent of children of primary school
age in rural areas of the developing world are out of school, compared
with 16 per cent of children in the same age group living in cities.
Achieving universal primary education means more than full
enrolment. It also encompasses quality education, meaning that all
children who attend school regularly learn basic literacy and numeracy
GOAL 2: Achieve universal primary education
Globally, 570 million children are enrolled in school. The
number of children of primary school age who were out
of school fell from 103 million in 1999 to 73 million in
2006. In that year, primary school enrolment in
developing countries reached 88 per cent on average, up
from 83 per cent in 2000.
In sub-Saharan Africa, the net primary school enrolment
ratio has only recently reached 71 per cent, even after a
significant jump in enrolment that began in 2000. Around
38 million children of primary school age in this region
are still out of school.
In Southern Asia, the enrolment ratio has climbed above
90 per cent, yet mor