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UNESCO: 617m children not learning reading, maths

Image of a primary school in Syria [file photo]

The UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) reported that 617 million children and adolescents across the world are not achieving minimum proficiency levels in reading and mathematics.

The organisation warned that “a learning crisis” could threaten the progress of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

According to the UIS, the largest number of children and adolescents not learning are in the Sub-Saharan Africa, with 202 million children and adolescents who are not learning these core subjects.

Across the region, nearly nine out of ten children between the ages of about six and 14 are not reaching the minimum proficiency levels in reading and mathematics.

Statistics show that the new numbers stem from three shared problems. The first problem is the inability to reach schools, with children who are out of school have little or no chance of achieving the minimum proficiency level. The second problem is a failure to keep all the children in schools and keep them on the right track. As for the third problem, it lies in the quality of education the children are receiving in the classroom.

These statistics are the first of their kind.

Read: Failure to protect education in conflict zones undermines our security

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