The global number of out-of-school children of primary school age rose by 2.4 million between 2010 and 2013, reaching a total of more than 59 million. This serves as a grim reminder that the UNICEF goal of ensuring every child completes a full course of primary education by 2015 has yet to be met. Equally as important than the trend is the huge gap in good data that is being collected to track and understand the experiences of these children.
Efforts to reduce the gender gap in education have also faltered in recent years. Getting girls into school and ensuring that they stay and learn has what UNICEF calls a “multiplier effect,” so it is of high importance that accurate data be collected for measurement toward this goal. While the gap is considerably smaller than in the early 2000s, UIS data show little improvement in recent years, despite the many campaigns and initiatives designed to break the barriers that keep girls out of school.