Developing countries have made impressive advances toward universal primary education. Enrolment in primary education has continued to rise, reaching 90 percent in the developing world in 2011—an increase from 83 percent in 2000. Most of this progress, however, was made before 2004. Global numbers of out-of-school children are dropping too slowly and too unevenly for the target to be reached by 2015.
Persistent gaps and challenges that need to be addressed include increasing the number of girls who go to school, reaching the most marginalized, and ensuring quality education in fragile states. The children who fall within these categories account for almost half of all out-of-school children. Between 2008 and 2010 the number of primary-school-age children in sub-Saharan Africa who did not attend school climbed from 29 million to 31 million. The gender gap in the out-of-school population has narrowed, but it is still wide: worldwide, an estimated 35 million primary-school-age girls are not enrolled.
Nevertheless, several countries that were the furthest behind are on track to reach gender parity by 2015. nrolment in primary education in developing regions reached 90 per cent in 2010, up from 82 per cent in 1999, which means more kids than ever are attending primary school. In 2011, 57 million children of primary school age were out of school. Even as countries with the toughest challenges have made large strides, progress on primary school enrollment has slowed.
One in ten children of primary school age was still out of school in 2012. Gender gaps in youth literacy rates are also narrowing. Globally, 781 million adults and 126 million youth (aged 15 to 24) worldwide lack basic reading and writing skills, and more than 60 per cent of them are women.