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Millions of Children Denied Free Secondary Education

Millions of Children Denied Free Secondary Education
Secondary school students in a classroom in southern Senegal.

Governments, Donors Should Energize Support at Dakar Summit

(Dakar) – The slow growth of free secondary education for all is jeopardizing the futures of millions of children globally, Human Rights Watch said today, in advance of the Global Partnership for Education’s (GPE) 2018 Replenishment Conference in Dakar, Senegal.

Globally, more than 264 million children are out of primary and secondary school, including 62 million children of lower-secondary school age and 141 million of upper-secondary school age. Close to 80 percent of the world’s out-of-school children of primary and secondary school age live in the 65 countries associated with the Global Partnership for Education. All governments attending the conference should make a commitment to support free secondary education, by law and in practice.

“Low-income countries have made meaningful progress in ensuring primary education, but secondary education still remains out of reach for millions of children,” said Elin Martínez, children’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Countries that have pledged to provide free secondary education should make good on these promises and those that have not should follow suit.”

The Global Partnership for Education, a multilateral funding organization made up of governments, foundations, and private donors, is one of the largest global education donors and provides funding to strengthen primary and lower-secondary education in low-income and conflict-affected countries, including Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Senegal, and Tanzania. More than 43 million children of primary-school age and 35 million children of lower-secondary age are out of school in these countries.

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