According to data published by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), some 244 million children are out of school worldwide.
With 98 million children still out of school, sub-Saharan Africa continues to be the region with the highest percentage. It is also the only region where this number is increasing.
With 85 million people, the Central and South Asia region has the second highest percentage of out-of-school children.
A glimmer of hope
A more encouraging development is that the global gap between the percentage of boys and girls who drop out of school has been reduced, according to UNESCO data.
In 2000, the gender gap among children in primary school was 2.5 percentage points and among those in upper secondary school it was 3.9 percentage points.
Although there are no more discrepancies, there are still regional differences.
Less than 60% of Ukrainian schools adapted to children
In a similar vein, the director of the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, said on Thursday that four million boys and girls in Ukraine face an uncertain start to school.
Catherine Russell has just returned from a three-day trip to the country where she met teachers, parents and children who had been affected by the war, which is now in its seventh month.
Less than 60% of schools in Ukraine are declared safe and qualified to reopen after the conflict damaged or destroyed thousands.
Russell went to an elementary school that had been repaired after suffering damage in the early days of the fighting. Due to the capacity of the school’s bomb shelter, only 300 students – only 14% of the school’s pre-war capacity – could attend at any one time.
When it is deemed safe, UNICEF will work with the Ukrainian government to help children return to school. If in-person instruction is not an option, children can study through online or community-based alternatives.
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