Access to education is the birthright of every child. Yet around the world, there are still 58 million primary school-age children not in school. That number climbs to 124 million when you include all children and adolescents.

While some kids are too poor to afford school fees, others are too sick to attend class or too hungry to concentrate when they do. In some instances, children are excluded because of their gender, a disability or cultural factors. While other times, situations of war or child labour stand in the way.

Education is the most basic insurance against poverty and the first step to overcoming it. At any age, education empowers people with the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to shape a better future for themselves, their families and their communities.

Fast Facts

  • Children of uneducated mothers are nearly 2.8 times as likely to die before the age of five as children whose mothers have at least a secondary education.
  • Child marriages would fall by 14% if all girls had a primary education.
  • One extra year of schooling increases an individual’s earnings by up 
to 10%.
We need $26 billion more each year to achieve basic education for all. That’s less than 5% of what the U.S. Military spent in 2015.


Every child has the right to a primary education guaranteed by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. There is so much we can do to improve access to education for children around the world, beginning with building classrooms in developing communities so that every child has a school to attend.

One school can improve every aspect of a community’s health and well-being. In school, students learn to set goals and solve problems, helping their parents run more successful home businesses and farms. They also learn how to safely treat drinking water and stop the spread of diseases, making their communities healthier. Education is proven to reduce the chance of death for mothers and infants during and after pregnancy. Educated mothers are also more likely to send their children to school.

Despite the benefits of girls’ education, girls usually have the hardest time accessing education. Many drop out once they reach puberty because they don’t have clean or private toilets or latrines to use at school. In some cultures, girls are forced to leave school and marry at an early age. Even the daily chore of walking for hours to collect drinking water limits the time that girls can spend in the classroom.