6 Achieve universal primary education

Where do we stand?

Young adolescents from poor and rural households are more likely to be out of school.
Percentage of lower secondary-age children out of school by sex, household wealth and location, 55 countries, 2005/2010. (source: The Millennium Development Goals Report 2012)

Bar Chart

In the developing regions, the net enrolment rate for children of primary school age rose from 82 to 90 per cent between 1999 and 2010. However, a closer look at the data reveals that nearly all of this growth occurred between 1999 and 2004, and that progress in reducing the number of out-of-school children slowed considerably after 2004. Read more in The Millennium Development Goals Report 2012

UNDP's work around the globe

  • UNDP in Bangladesh

    UNDP in Bangladesh


Quick Facts

  • Progress on primary school enrolment has slowed since 2004, even as countries with the toughest challenges have made large strides.
  • More than half of all out-of-school children are in sub-Saharan Africa
  • Success at the primary level places increased demands on secondary schools
  • Illiteracy still holds back more than 120 million young people

Read more in The Millennium Development Goals Report 2012

Featured Publication
The Millennium Development Goals Report 2012

Three important targets on poverty, slums and water have been met three years ahead of 2015, says this year’s Report. Meeting the remaining targets, while challenging, is possible ─ but only if Governments do not waiver from their commitments.

More MDG-related publications
Targets for MDG2
  1. Ensure that, by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling
    • Net enrolment ratio in primary education
    • Proportion of pupils starting grade 1 who reach last grade of primary
    • Literacy rate of 15-24 year-olds, women and men