About 30 million primary school-aged children in sub-Saharan Africa are not in class, partially because of conflict and poverty, and progress to get them back to school has stalled, two U.N. agencies said.
The situation is especially dire in West and Central Africa, which has the largest proportion of children out of school of any region in the world, said a pair of reports published Monday by UNICEF, the U.N. children's agency, and the statistics arm of UNESCO, the U.N. cultural and education agency.
The U.N. Millennium Development goals made primary education for every child a priority in 2000, and substantial progress was made through 2007, the reports said. In 1999 there were 106 million kids out of school globally, and by 2008 that figured dropped to 60 million, according to Yumiko Yokozeki, a regional education adviser for UNICEF in West and Central Africa. But since then, things have stagnated.
Only the hardest cases are left in many countries, such as kids who live in rural areas or kids in conflict zones, she said.