Education data highlights

Explore a list of useful statistics on education by theme, both globally and for GPE partner countries.

Global data on why education is a good investment
Global data on the missed opportunities due to the lack of education
Data for GPE partner countries

COVID-19 and education

  • Learning losses from missed in-person schooling amounting to 2 trillion hours of lost learning.
    Source: UNICEF, 2022
  • As of March 2022, 23 countries – home to over 400 million schoolchildren – have yet to fully open schools, with many children at risk of dropping out.
    Source: UNICEF, 2022
  • On June 1st 2020, GPE doubled its COVID-19 emergency funding window to US$500 million to help lower-income countries mitigate both the immediate and long-term impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on education.
    Source: GPE Secretariat
  • More than 80% of the 66 accelerated grants to help countries respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 included initiatives that targeted children with disabilities to ensure learning continuity.
    Source: GPE Secretariat
  • On April 1st 2020, just three weeks after COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, GPE unlocked US$250 million to help 67 lower-income countries mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on education.
    Source: GPE Secretariat
  • On March 25, 2020, GPE provided US$8.8 million to UNICEF to kickstart education systems’ response to COVID-19 in 87 lower-income countries.
    Source: GPE Secretariat
  • COVID-19 education grants have provided over $35 million across GPE partner countries to help teachers adapt to new distance learning methods.
    Source: GPE Secretariat
  • Globally, 72% of countries (146 of 204) have included teachers in one of several priority groups to be vaccinated.
    Source: World Teachers’ Day 2021 Fact Sheet, p.1
  • Content for remote learning was provided to teachers by 58% of all countries ranging from 81% in Europe and Northern America to just 29% in sub-Saharan Africa.
    Source: World Teachers’ Day 2021 Fact Sheet, p.7
  • Globally 40% of countries trained three quarters or more of teachers on distance learning methods including various forms of ICT in 2020, ranging from 65% of countries in Latin America and the Caribbean to just 8% in sub-Saharan Africa.
    Source: World Teachers’ Day 2021 Fact Sheet, p.8
  • Aid to education could be reduced by as much as $2 billion by 2022.
    Source: GEMR Policy Paper 41 – July 2020 (p. 1)
  • 41% of lower income countries reduced their spending on education after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, with an average decline in spending of 13.5%.
    Source: Education Finance Watch 2022. World Bank, GEMR, UIS. p.4
  • Global learning losses from COVID-19 could cost this generation of students close to US$21 trillion in lifetime earnings, which far exceeds the original estimate of US$10 trillion made immediately after the pandemic outbreak and even the US$17 trillion estimated in 2021 (Azevedo et al. 2022).
    Source: Education Finance Watch 2022. World Bank, GEMR, UIS. p.4
  • Total global education spending over the last 10 years before COVID-19 increased steadily, from US$4 trillion in 2010 to US$4.9 trillion in 2018, and then stagnated with the onset of the pandemic.
    Source: Education Finance Watch 2022. World Bank, GEMR, UIS. p.10
  • An estimated 24 million learners may never see the inside of a classroom again because of COVID-19, with girls, children from poor families, and children with disabilities facing the greatest risks.
    Source: UNESCO, 2020
  • 88% of low-income countries and 76% of lower-middle-income countries received development assistance to cover COVID-related costs in education (UNESCO, UNICEF, and World Bank 2020).
    Source: Education finance watch 2021. P12
  • 368.5 million children across 143 countries who normally rely on school meals for a reliable source of daily nutrition must now look to other sources.
    Source: The impact of COVID-19 on children. UN Policy Brief, April 2020, p. 9
  • 20 million more secondary school girls could be out of school following the pandemic.
    Source: Malala Fund
  • Due to pandemic-related disruptions in prevention programs, 2 million cases of female genital mutilation could occur over the next decade that would otherwise have been averted.
    Source: UNFPA, April 2020
  • 13 million girls could be forced into early marriage as their parents grapple with the economic fallout of COVID-19.
    Source: World Bank, 2020
  • Before the pandemic, over 50% of the world’s children left primary school without even the most basic reading skills. An estimated 70% of children now face this harsh reality.
    Source: The World Bank, UNESCO and UNICEF, The State of the Global Education Crisis: A Path to Recovery. 2021, P.5
  • Only 15 countries are offering distance instruction in more than one language.
    Source: The impact of COVID-19 on children. UN Policy Brief, April 2020, p. 8
  • At the peak of school closures, 1.6 billion learners were out of school, with 810 million in low-income countries.
    Source: UNESCO
  • Between 119 and 124 million people may be pushed into extreme poverty due to the pandemic.
    Source: World Bank, 2021

Gender equality

Education in crisis situations

  • Each year of education reduces the risk of conflict by around 20%.
    Source: World Bank. Doing well out of war (Paul Collier), 1999 , p. 5
  • Children in fragile, conflict-affected countries are more than twice as likely to be out of school compared with those in countries not affected by conflict; similarly, adolescents are more than two-thirds more likely to be out of school.
    Source: GEM Report, Policy Paper 21, June 2015, p.2
  • 69.4% of children completed primary school in partner countries affected by fragility and conflict in 2020 compared to 66% in 2013.
    Source: GPE Results Report 2021, p. 38
  • 63% of GPE implementation grants were allocated to partner countries affected by fragility and conflict in 2021 compared to 44% in 2012.
    Source: GPE Secretariat
  • In GPE countries affected by fragility and conflict, the number of girls completing school for every 100 boys rose from 74 to 88 for primary, and from 67 to 83 for lower-secondary between 2002 and 2015.
    Source: GPE estimate based on UIS data

Inclusive education

  • In 40% of partner countries, the GPE grant funds one or more activities relating to children with disabilities.
    Source: GPE Secretariat
  • Out of 35 countries with active grants in 2018, 34 mention disability, special needs, or inclusive education in education sector analyses and plans.
    Source: GPE Secretariat
  • Almost 40% of partner countries provide pre-service or in-service teacher training on inclusive education.
    Source: GPE Secretariat
  • One third of GPE partner countries plans to build new schools or renovate existing schools to make them accessible for children with disabilities.
    Source: GPE Secretariat
  • Approximately one billion people in the world are living with a disability, with at least 1 in 10 being children and 80% living in lower-income countries.
    Source: World Report on Disability
  • Between 93 million and 150 million children are estimated to live with disabilities.
    Source: EFA GMR 2015, p.100
  • The literacy rate for adults with disabilities is 3%. For women with disabilities the literacy rate is even lower, at 1%
    Source: UNGEI. Still left behind: Pathways to inclusive education for girls with disabilities, p.12

Early childhood education

Learning and literacy

  • 53% of 10-year-olds in low- and middle-income countries are unable to read and understand a short age-appropriate text.
    Source: World Bank. 2019
  • In 2017, the UIS estimates that more than 617 million (or six out of ten) children and adolescents of primary and lower secondary school age do not achieve minimum proficiency levels in reading and mathematics.
    Source: UIS Fact Sheet N°48, February 2018 p.12
  • 70% of partner countries with available data saw improvements in learning outcomes between 2010–15 and 2016–19.
    Source: GPE results report 2021. p.26
  • 89% of grants supported EMIS and/or learning assessment systems in 2020.
    Source: GPE results report 2021. p.6

Quality teaching

  • By 2030, countries must recruit 69 million teachers to provide every child with primary and secondary education: 24.4 million primary school teachers and 44.4 million secondary school teachers.
    Source: UIS factsheet #39, October 2016, p. 1
  • 67 million more children have access to quality teachers since 2002.
    Source: GPE Secretariat
  • Nearly 1.6 million teachers were trained under GPE grants between FY16 and FY20
    Source: GPE Secretariat
  • 39% of partner countries had fewer than 40 students per trained teacher in 2020, compared to 25% in 2015.
    Source: GPE Secretariat
  • 91% of GPE implementation grants active in FY22 included support for teachers and teaching-related activities, such as in-service training, pre-service training, teacher coaching and mentoring, teacher management, and teaching tools such as teachers’ guides and other pedagogical resources. This amounts to a combined total of more than $528 million.
    Source: GPE Secretariat
  • More than 675,000 teachers were trained with GPE funding in FY 2022, compared to 98,000 in 2014.
    Source: GPE Results Report 2022 (upcoming)
  • Across GPE partner countries, 58% of pre-primary teachers, 79% of primary teachers, and 71% of lower and upper secondary teachers have the required minimum qualifications. Even with minimum qualifications, many teachers’ pedagogical and content knowledge is low.
    Source: GPE Secretariat based on UIS data
  • 72% of primary teachers and 65% of lower-secondary teachers received pre-or in-service training in partner countries in 2017.
    Source: GPE Secretariat
  • COVID-19 education grants have provided over $35 million across GPE partner countries to help teachers adapt to new distance learning methods.
    Source: GPE Secretariat
  • Globally, 83% of primary and the same proportion of secondary teachers hold the minimum required qualifications. In primary, this proportion ranges from 98% in South-East Asia to 67% in sub-Saharan Africa, while in secondary, it ranges from 97% in Central Asia to 61% in sub-Saharan Africa.
    Source: World Teachers’ Day 2021 Fact Sheet, p.4
  • On average, there are 56 school children per trained teacher in sub-Saharan Africa.
    Source: UNESCO. 2022. Spotlight Report on Basic Education Completion and Foundational Learning in Africa, Paris, UNESCO. p.101
  • The global average pupil/trained teacher ratio (PTTR) in primary education was 27:1 ranging from 56:1 in sub-Saharan Africa to 17:1 in Europe.
    Source: World Teachers’ Day 2021 Fact Sheet, p.5
  • Sub-Saharan Africa will need to recruit 11.2 million primary and secondary teachers by 2025 based on increasing school-age populations and replacements due to teacher attrition. This gap will widen to 15 million teachers needed by 2030.
    Source: World Teachers’ Day 2021 Fact Sheet, p.3
  • Of the 24.4 million teachers needed for universal primary education, 21 million will replace teachers who leave the workforce. The remaining 3.4 million, however, are additional teachers who are needed to expand access to school and support education quality by reducing the numbers of children in each class to a maximum of 40.
    Source: UIS factsheet #39, October 2016, p. 1
  • Teacher shortages are most acute in sub-Saharan Africa, where 70% of countries face shortages at primary level and 90% of countries at secondary level.
    Source: ISU, 2016
  • In one-third of all countries, less than 75% of teachers were trained according to national standards in 2013.
    Source: EFA GMR 2015, p.122
  • Countries with more female primary teachers are more likely to have higher enrollment rates for girls in secondary schools. Unfortunately, in some countries, less than 25% of primary teachers are female.
    Source: UNESCO eAtlas of Teachers

Domestic financing

  • 68% of partner countries increased their share of education expenditure or maintained it at 20% or above.
    Source: GPE results report 2021, p.6
  • GPE partner countries (43 with data) allocated 18.6% of their budget for education in 2021.
    Source: GPE Secretariat
  • Government per capita spending on education was on average nearly 150 times higher in high-income countries than in low-income countries.
    Source: Education Finance Watch 2022. World Bank, GEMR, UIS. p.11
  • Between 2010–11 and 2018–19 government education spending as a percentage of GDP remained at 4.3% in lower-middle-income countries, and increased from 3.2 to 3.5% in low-income countries.
    Source: Education finance watch 2021. P4