At the World Education Forum in Dakar in 2000, the international community committed to making quality education available to all the world’s population. Six goals were were drawn up to be achieved by 2015. While there has been some progress in universal access to education since 2000, there are 263 million children and young people are still out of school.
Despite more children overall entering school, disadvantaged children still lag behind their peers. For example, the probability that children from the poorest households in low and middle income countries would not attain primary school in 2010 was more than five times higher than the corresponding probability of children from the richest.
Increases in basic primary and lower-secondary school attendance have also failed to keep up with upper secondary attendance. Between 2000 and 2007, the upper secondary out-of-school rate declined steadily over the entire period, from 49% to 37%. However, the primary out-of-school rate fell from 15% to 10% and declined only to 9% by 2014. The lower secondary out-of-school rate fell from 25% in 2000 to 18% in 2007 and 16% in 2014.
When delivering the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals, the international education community must build on this progress and learn from past mistakes.