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New UNESCO report says some 84 million children at risk of still being out of school by 2030

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A new UNESCO report on global education says some 84 million children and young people around the world will still be out of school by the year 2030.

The report released in the first week of July 2022 and copied to Ghana Business News, says if countries do not take additional measures, only one in six countries will meet Sustainable Development Goal 4 and achieve universal access to quality education by 2030.

“There will still be an estimated 84 million children and young people out of school by the end of the decade,” it said.

UNESCO indicated that one week after the call for mobilization launched by its Director-General, Audrey Azoulay  at the Transforming Education Pre-Summit in Paris attended by more than 150 ministers, its new report titled: “Setting commitments: National SDG 4 benchmarks to transform education” comes as a new stark reality check for political and civil society leaders.

The report, based on data provided by nine in ten UNESCO Member States, countries anticipate that the percentage of students achieving basic skills in reading at the end of primary school will increase from 51 per cent in 2015 to 67 per cent in 2030.

“Despite this progress, an estimated 300 million children and young people will still not have the basic numeracy and literacy skills they need to succeed in life,” it said.

Furthermore, the report points out that despite the promise of universal secondary school completion, only one in six countries aim to meet this target by 2030, and just four in ten youth in sub-Saharan Africa will be completing secondary school.

It notes that governments’ data shows that even if national targets are met, these are insufficient: there will still be an estimated 84 million children and young people not attending school by the end of the decade.
Commenting on the report, Stefania Giannini, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Education said: “The majority of governments have now set national benchmarks for progress towards the crucial education goal: it is a sign of serious commitment. But the international community now has the responsibility to boost their efforts by filling the remaining data gaps and by prioritising education funding. It is the only way to respond to identified needs and create a truly transformative impact.”

In his comments citing the impact of COVID-19 on education, David Sengeh, Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, and chief innovation officer for the government of Sierra Leone, and Chair of the Global Education Monitoring Report’s Advisory Board said, “COVID-19 aggravated the existing education crisis. By 2030, far too many children are expected to remain out of classrooms. We can and must do better. UNESCO’s leadership is important in supporting governments to set benchmarks at this critical time.”

The report calls for strengthening regional and international cooperation, so that each country can draw inspiration from its peers in developing and implementing solutions.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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