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Schooling for millions of children jeopardised by reductions in aid

© Bangladesh/ Shoeb Faruquee

Progress in reducing the number of children out of school has come to a virtual standstill just as international aid to basic education falls for the first time since 2002, according to a new paper released by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) and the Education for All (EFA) Global Monitoring Report.

The latest data show that there were still 57 million children out of school in 2011, a drop of only 2 million from the previous year *. Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for more than one-half of all out-of-school children worldwide and has the highest out-of-school rate of all regions; almost more than one in five primary school-age children have either never attended school or left before completing the last grade of primary education.

Making matters worse, the lack of progress in reaching these children coincides with significant cuts in aid to basic education, which fell by 6% between 2010 and 2011. Over the course of the year, six of the top ten donors to education reduced their spending. The changing donor landscape now sees the United Kingdom as the largest bilateral donor to basic education, taking the place of the United States.

In addition to a reduction in basic education aid, funds are not being directed to the regions and countries most in need. Only US$1.9 billion was allocated to low-income countries in 2011, a reduction of 9% from the previous year and a far cry from the US$26 billion needed to fill the finance gap for basic education**.  

To learn more:

- Download the paper in EnglishFrench and Spanish
- Consult the UIS Data Centre for the latest figures on out-of-school children
- Visit the homepage of the EFA Global Monitoring Report for blogs and further analysis of aid
- Learn more about the UNICEF/UIS global initiative to reduce the number of children out of school
- Share the video on out-of-school children with colleagues and friends

*In 2012, the UIS estimated that 61 million children of primary school age were out of school in 2010. In 2013, the Institute revised its estimate for 2010 to 59 million children who are out of school. The difference between the estimates published in 2012 and 2013 is due to the availability of new national data.

**Aid trends calculated by the EFA Global Monitoring Report team based on data from the OECD Creditor Reporting System aid database.


Source: The UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) is the primary source for cross-nationally comparable statistics on education, science and technology, culture, and communication for more than 200 countries and territories.