- If all students in low-income countries gained basic reading skills, 171 million people could escape poverty
- A woman’s earning potential goes up 20% for every year of schooling she completes.
- Of the nearly 2 billion youth in the world, one-third are not employed, not in school, and not in formal training for work.
- If a child’s mother can read, they are 50% more likely to live past the age of five, and 2x as likely to attend school.
- Over 265 million children are currently out of school — 22% of them are of primary school age.
- In 2016, 132 million girls worldwide were not in school.
- Lack of access to education is a major predictor of passing poverty from one generation to the next, and receiving an education is one of the top ways to achieve financial stability.
- Increasing access to education can equalize communities, improve the overall health and longevity of a society, and help save the planet.
- Families living in poverty often have to choose between sending their child to school or providing other basic needs. Even if families do not have to pay tuition fees, school comes with the added costs of uniforms, books, supplies, and/or exam fees.
- Countries across sub-Saharan Africa, where the world’s poorest children live, have made a concerted effort to abolish school fees.
- If families cannot afford the costs of school, they are more likely to send boys than girls. Around 15 million girls will never get the chance to attend school, compared to 10 million boys.
- Gender inequality is more prevalent in low-income countries. Women often perform more unpaid work, have fewer assets, are exposed to gender-based violence, and are more likely to be forced into early marriage, all limiting their ability to fully participate in society and benefit from economic growth.
- When girls face barriers to education early on, it is difficult for them to recover. Child marriage is one of the most common reasons a girl might stop going to school. More than 650 million women globally have already married under the age of 18. For families experiencing financial hardship, child marriage reduces their economic burden, but it ends up being more difficult for girls to gain financial independence if they are unable to access a quality education.
- Lack of access to adequate menstrual hygiene management also stops many girls from attending school. Some girls cannot afford to buy sanitary products or they do not have access to clean water and sanitation to clean themselves and prevent disease. If safety is a concern due to lack of separate bathrooms, girls will stay home from school to avoid putting themselves at risk of sexual assault or harassment.
- When countries invest in girls’ education, it sees an increase in female leaders, lower levels of population growth, and a reduction of contributions to climate change.
There are more children enrolled in school than ever before — developing countries reached a 91% enrollment rate in 2015 — but we must fully close the gap.
World leaders gathered at the United Nations headquarters to address the disparity in 2015 and set 17 Global Goals to end extreme poverty by 2030. Global Goal 4: Quality Education aims to “end poverty in all its forms everywhere.”