Can you imagine not being able to read this sentence?

250 million children can’t.

250 million children of primary school age lack basic reading, writing and math skills.

What does 250 million mean, exactly?



Up to 75% of children in more deprived regions of poor countries can’t read a single word even after several years in school

$129 Billion

The cost of 250 million children around the world not learning basic skills translates into a loss of an estimated US$129 billion per year

Education impacts every area of life

A lack of quality education can lead to:

Health and Sanitation IssuesGender Inequality Lack of Qualified Teachers

Familial economic instability Infrastructure Challenges

Why education?

Education leads to higher income, improved health, gender equality and a better future.

Education provides higher income

A quality education breaks the cycle of poverty. Globally, every year a child completes of primary school increases earnings by 10% and raises the average annual gross domestic product by 0.37%. Children who receive an education are more likely to send their own children to school, preventing the transmission of poverty through generations.

Education leads to improved health

If all women completed primary education, the under-5 mortality rate would fall by 15% in low and lower middle income countries, saving almost a million children’s lives every year. Going to school also allows students to learn about healthy hygiene practices, which they can bring into their daily lives.

Education breaks down the gender gap

Girls who go to school are less likely to marry early or against their will. Education empowers women to make life choices and strengthens girls’ beliefs in their ability to achieve goals.

Education brings about a better future

When all children have access to quality education rooted in human rights and gender equality, it creates a ripple effect of opportunity that influences generations to come. Education continues to be identified as one of the key conditions for determining peace within societies.

171 Million

If all students in low-income countries left school with basic reading skills, 171 million people could be lifted out of poverty – a 12% cut in world poverty


When average educational attainment by a country’s population increases by one year, it increases annual per capita GDP growth by 25%

“No country can really develop unless its citizens are educated”

–Nelson Mandela

We’ve built more than 500 schools in Ghana, Guatemala, Nicaragua & Laos

We’ve met thousands of children and traveled to hundreds of communities, heard their stories and invested in their education, ensuring the promise of a better future.

But there are still 250 million children who need help receiving a quality education.

Together, we can change this.


EFA Global Monitoring Report
Global Partnership for Education
Global Partnership for Education Results for Learning Report 2012

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