New UIS data reveal high out-of-school numbers remain in Asia-Pacific

New UIS data reveal high out-of-school numbers remain in Asia-Pacific

Despite decades of efforts to get every child into the classroom, progress has come to a standstill and Asia-Pacific is no exception to this trend, according to the latest data from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS).

Of the 263 million out-of-school children, adolescents and youth worldwide in 2016, 95.8 million lived in Southern Asia, a number second only to Sub-Saharan Africa. Eastern and South-Eastern Asia has the third highest number of out-of-school children, adolescents and youth with 31 million.

Primary school-age girls face a disadvantage in many parts of Asia-Pacific. In 2016, the widest gender disparities were observed in Central Asia, where for every 100 out-of-school boys of primary school age, 127 girls were denied the right to education. Meanwhile, male adolescents and youth of secondary school age are more likely to be out of school in some parts of Asia-Pacific. Among upper secondary school-age youth, the largest disparities in favor of females were observed in Eastern and South-Eastern Asia, with an adjusted GPI of 0.66.

A new UIS factsheet, “One in Five Children, Adolescents and Youth is Out of School” presents a deeper analysis on the status and trends of out-of-school children, adolescents and youth.


New Data Release: UIS updated education data including new coverage and availability of SDG 4 data

These new numbers are part of a wider release by UIS of education data for the 2016 reference year. The new release covers about 6,000 variables and indicators as well as historical time series and regional averages on a range of issues, such as access, participation and completion by education level, learning outcomes, equity, teachers and education financing. Population-based indicators, such as out-of-school children and enrolment rates, have been revised for all years using the 2017 Revision of World Population Prospects of the United Nations Population Division.

As the official source of SDG 4 data, the UIS has also made it a priority to improve the coverage and availability of SDG 4 data. For example, data for indicator 4.a.1[1]are now available for about 70 countries, which were previously collected just from countries in Sub-Saharan Africa as part of a regional survey. The release also includes updated data for 29 global and thematic indicators to monitor progress towards SDG 4. 

UIS education data are featured in a wide range of flagship publications and databases, such as the World Development Indicators (World Bank), the State of the World’s Children (UNICEF), the Global Education Monitoring Report (UNESCO), the SDG Progress Report (United Nations Statistics Division), and many others.

The following resources have been updated with new data:

  • UIS Data Centre: explore and download the latest available data on education. Users can browse through the complete set of indicators or more segmented views of SDG 4 indicators.
  • API (application program interface): advanced data users can now download about 6,000 indicators and variables from 1970 and onwards.
  • SDG 4 data microsite: explore the indicators, metadata and country profiles on the global and thematic indicators. 
  • eAtlas for Education 2030: interactive maps make it easy to explore the global and thematic indicators and see the trends at the global, regional and country levels.


UNESCO Bangkok’s Assessment, Information System, Monitoring and Statistics (AIMS) Unit is the Asia-Pacific regional office of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Should you have any inquires, kindly contact us at aims.bgk[at]

Photo: Shutterstock/ By chaivit chana

[1] the proportion of schools with access to (a) electricity; (b) the Internet for pedagogical purposes; (c) computers for pedagogical purposes; (d) adapted infrastructure and materials for students with disabilities; (e) basic drinking water; (f) single-sex basic sanitation facilities; and (g) basic handwashing facilities