Despite dramatic improvements over the past decades, progress towards achieving education for all has stagnated, and 244 million children, adolescents and youth are still out of school. More than 80% of them live in the countries and territories eligible for GPE support.
Even where children go to school, they often do not complete it. In GPE partner countries, one in four children does not complete primary school and half do not complete lower secondary school.
Children from the poorest households, from rural areas, and from countries affected by fragility and conflict are more likely to be left behind, as are girls in many countries.
Marginalization based on socioeconomic status, gender, ethnicity, language, religion, disability, and location are drivers of education inequality. To compound these barriers, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated inequalities faced by marginalized children.
GPE in action
Access is a priority area of GPE 2025, the partnership's strategic plan. GPE promotes the mainstreaming of equity and inclusion in all education policies and plans to ensure that all children enjoy their basic human rights without discrimination.
Building schools: Building, restoring, and maintaining education facilities is critical to ensure more children have access to school. In 2019, over US$270 million from GPE grants were spent on these activities.
Research and data: GPE has supported research and projects on out-of-school children, including the global Out-of-School Children Initiative, which supports countries to identify which children are out of school, the barriers to access, and policies and programs that can remove these barriers. GPE hosted a series of webinars in 2019 and 2020 on collecting and using data on marginalized groups and education.
Planning, policy dialogue and financing: GPE weights its funding towards countries that have low completion rates and those affected by fragility and conflict, which have higher numbers of out-of-school children. GPE supports countries to develop comprehensive analysis of barriers to access and policies that can remove these barriers.
Advocacy: GPE advocates for a quality education for every child, in line with SDG 4. GPE prioritizes gender equality and access for marginalized groups including those living in poverty, ethnic and linguistic minorities, along with refugees and internally displaced persons.