The UNESCO’s Institute for Statistics (UIS) says‎ 16 million girls, below age 11, will not get basic education, if current trends continue.


Irina Bokova, UNESCO’s director-general, described this as worrisome, saying despite all the efforts and progress made over the past 20 years, statistics show that girls were still being denied the right to education.

“We will never achieve any of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) without overcoming the discrimination and poverty that stunt the lives of girls and women from one generation to the next,” UNESCO said in a report.

“We must work at all levels, from grassroots to global level, to put equity and inclusion at the heart of every policy so that all girls, whatever their circumstances, can go to school, stay in school and become empowered citizens.”


The report said gender disparities had remained the highest in the Arab world, sub-Saharan Africa as well as in South and West Asia.

Quoting UNESCO’s Institute for Statistics (UIS), the body said across sub-Saharan Africa, 9.5 million girls would never set their feet in any classrooms compared to five million boys.

“In total, more than 30 million children aged between six years to 11 years are out of school across the region,” the eAtlas said.


“Some will start at a later age, but many more will remain entirely excluded with girls facing the biggest barriers.

“The gender gap is even wider in South and West Asia, where 80 per cent out-of-school girls will never enter formal education compared to 16 per cent of out-of-school boys.

“This affects about four million girls compared to less than one million boys. Girls form the majority of the millions of children excluded from schools in the Arab world, although precise estimates are impossible to produce due to conflicts in the region.”


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