Dropout rates in primary schools need to be improved if global education goals are to be reached, according to a major study published last week.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) describes the lack of progress towards the six Education for All goals, set in 2000, as a "global learning crisis".
The organisation's monitoring report reveals that 57 million children are out of school worldwide. It also shows that 130 million children are illiterate despite having received some formal education.
A 2012 Unesco report on the impact of leaving school early points out that although the number of children in sub-Saharan Africa enrolled in primary education is growing, the region also has the highest dropout rates in the world.
In countries with low overall completion rates, children tend to drop out at each grade of primary school.
In others countries, such as Mauritius and Paraguay, primary school enrolment is relatively high but students drop out during the transition to secondary. In middle- and high-income countries, very few children leave school during primary or lower secondary education. Helen Ward
1 Data from school year ending in 2010. Source: Education For All Global Monitoring Report 2013-14, table 6, Unesco. bit.lyEFAReport. 2 Global Education Digest 2012, figure 18, Unesco. bit.lyGlobalEduReport.