Understanding the global education crisis

A quality, inclusive and equitable education gives children and young people the skills they need to succeed in life. Without it, they will be unable to read, write or count, let alone unleash their potential to change the world. Education also gives children a better chance of moving out of poverty and into a good job. 

Education increases a child’s chance of having a healthy life, reduces mortality and has benefits for health and well–being. It can promote gender equality, peace, and climate action. Also, education is a powerful alternative to prevent children from being exposed to dangerous environments such as child labour, forced marriage, child trafficking, sexual exploitation and recruitment by armed forces and extremists.  

The benefits of schooling are transformative and multi-generational – a child whose mother can read is 50% more likely to live past the age of five and twice as likely to attend school themselves. With just one additional school year, a woman’s earnings can increase by a fifth. 

260 million children around the world not in school

Even before Covid-19, there were almost 260 million children around the world who were not in school. Of those, 75 million had their education interrupted by conflicts and emergencies. The pandemic has affected the education of more than 90% of the world’s children and further worsened the global education crisis.


90% of a child’s brain develops between birth and the age of five

However, around 175 million children throughout the world are not enrolled in pre-primary education, despite research showing that supporting early learning is the best investment a government can make – providing a return of as much as $17 for every $1 invested in early childhood care.


By 2030 more than half of all young people won’t have basic reading or writing skills

If we take no action, by 2030, the year we are meant to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goal of quality, inclusive education for all, more than half of young people around the world will not be on track to have the most basic skills they need to get a job or participate in society.


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Get more facts and figures at The Key: Theirworld’s comprehensive information toolkit on the global education crisis.