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UN Report Finds 250 Million School Age Kids Can’t Read

A new report commissioned by the U.N. education agency found that at least 250 million of the world’s 650 million primary school age children are unable to read, write or do basic math.

Other findings of this report:

  • 130 million children in primary schools around the world have not achieved the minimum benchmarks for learning
  • almost 120 million children have spent little or no time in a classroom including 57 million youngsters who are not attending school
  • the cost of 250 million children around the world not learning translates to a loss for governments of around $129 billion annually
  • learning crisis is mainly caused by a lack of well-trained teachers, especially in impoverished areas
  • in a third of countries analyzed by the team, less than 75 percent of the primary school teachers had been trained to meet national standards
  • ensuring an equal, quality education can increase a country’s gross domestic product per capita by 23 percent over 40 years
  • almost half the children out of school globally are expected never to make it into a classroom — and that includes almost two-thirds of girls in Arab states and sub-Saharan Africa
  • almost half the world’s out-of-school population of 57 million live in conflict-affected areas, up from 42 percent in 2008
  • 14 countries had more than one million children out of school in 2011 including Afghanistan, China, Congo, Somalia, Sudan before its break-up, and Tanzania
  • Sub-Saharan Africa is the region lagging farthest behind

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