MDG 2: Achieve Universal Primary Education

girls worldwide say "education opens doors for all girls and boys"

The aim is to make sure that all boys and girls complete a full course of primary schooling.

Are targets being met?

  • Education is a basic human right and fundamental to the fight for human dignity and freedom. For 125 million children and 880 million adults, that right is violated every day.
  • Global enrolment in primary education increased from 596 million in 1990, to 648 million children in 2000. But there are still an estimated 100 million children worldwide who are not in school, more than half of whom are girls.
  • With the help of donor funds and debt relief, in 2002 Tanzania was able to make primary education free for all Tanzanian children. 1.6 million children enrolled in school and by 2003, 3.1 million extra children were going to school.
  • Uganda, Malawi, Kenya and Zambia have all been able to eliminate school fees.
  • Most of the countries in the Middle East/North Africa, East Asia and the Pacific and Latin America and Caribbean regions appear to be on course for 2015, along with Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States. While the rate of increase needs to improve, the target can certainly be met. In all of these regions, along with extra enrolment/attendance we need to see high rates of primary education schooling completed.
  • Attendance data based on household surveys show the number of children of primary school age that are out of school has declined in recent years, from 115 million in 2002 to 101 million in 2007. This is substantial progress, and many countries are close to delivering universal primary education.

 Did you know?

  • Currently there are more than 100 million children of primary school age not in school.
  • More than one in four adults worldwide cannot read or write and two-thirds are women.
  • A single year of primary school increases the wages people earn later in life by 5-15 per cent for boys and even more for girls.

Position Statements

WAGGGS has published several position statements on issues that are relevant to girls and young women worldwide. The statements contain information on what WAGGGS has to say about the topic, background facts and case studies. WAGGGS’ Member Organizations can find them on the Members’ Area of WAGGGS’ website or you can request them from

Your comments

No comments yet... Why not be the first?

Have your say

Post your comments about this page here. For general questions, go to Contact. When posting comments, please be considerate of others and refrain from abusive or off topic posts. Comments will only be uploaded if they are considered appropriate. Email addresses or any other personal details will not be allowed. HTML code will be removed from comments; linebreaks will be kept intact.

Type the characters you see in the image above