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UNESCO study shows 124 million people out of school in 2013 as aid dwindles

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UNESCOThe world will be gathering in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from July 13 to 16, 2015 to discuss ways to finance development, but just as delegates are preparing for the meeting a UNESCO report released this week shows that the number of children and adolescents who are out of school is on the rise.

The report finds that the number grew to 124 million in 2013.

The work of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) and the Education for All Global Monitoring Report (EFA GMR), finds that international aid to education remains below 2010 levels and is grossly insufficient to meet new education targets to achieve universal primary and secondary education.

The Third International Conference on Financing for Development will look at all sources of finance for sustainable development to ensure that resources go where they are needed most to promote economic prosperity and improve health, education and employment opportunities while protecting the environment, the conference information says.

“The outcome of the Conference will be an important milestone on the road toward the adoption of a new sustainable development agenda in September and a universal climate change agreement at the Paris Climate Conference in December. The Conference will lay the groundwork for the world to invest ahead, for people and planet,” it adds.

The UIS figures show that one in 11 children is out of school, totaling 59 million children in 2013, an increase of 2.4 million since 2010. Of these, 30 million live in sub-Saharan Africa and 10 million are in South and West Asia.

According to the estimates, 24 million children will never enter a classroom. Half of all out-of-school children in sub-Saharan Africa will never enroll. Girls are the most disadvantaged, particularly in South and West Asia, where 80 per cent of out-of-school girls are unlikely to start school, compared to just 16 per cent for boys.

In addition, one out of six adolescents is not in school, totaling 65 million in 2013. One third of these live in South and West Asia, another third in sub-Saharan Africa, where there are more adolescents out of school today than in 2000, it says.

Meanwhile, the Millennium Development Goal Two was to ensure that by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike will be able to complete a full course in primary schooling. But from the study by UNESCO, due to inadequate funding for education, instead of keeping people in school, they are dropping out.

According to the UNESCO study, despite a small increase of six percent in aid to education, levels are four percent lower today than in 2010.

“Without renewed commitments, assistance will continue to stagnate until at least 2017,” it warns.

The report notes that it will cost an extra $40 billion to provide 12 years of education to everyone in low and lower-middle income countries.

“To fill this shortfall, donor countries must increase their aid to education by 600 per cent.  Instead, they are placing education lower on their list of priorities: half of donor countries decreased their aid to basic education from 2008-2010 and 2011-2013,” the report points out.

It also shows that aid does not go where it is needed most.

“In 2013, only a third of aid to basic education was allocated to the poorest countries. Although sub-Saharan Africa accounts for more than half of out-of-school children, aid to basic education to the region made up just one third of total resources,” it states.

The study also found that while, aid to education is inadequate, it is not well targeted.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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