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NEW YORK, 13 February 2014 – Despite high enrolment rates, many children in the region of Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CEE/CIS), are missing out on education. According to the latest study published by the Out-of-School Children Initiative, 2.5 million children of basic school age and 1.6 million children of pre-primary school age are missing out on school due to a serious shortage of services and facilities.
Children in poor regions and rural areas, children with the lowest socioeconomic backgrounds, working children and children in conflict with the law often benefit least from education. Additionally, many more children from the most marginalized communities are excluded from national data collection procedures and thus are invisible. For example, there are an estimated 5.1 million children with disabilities in the region of which 3.6 million are estimated to be out of school.
Children from ethnic and language minority groups, the children of migrant and undocumented families and refugee children are also frequently excluded from quality learning. The children are not only deprived from their opportunity to learn but they are also in risk of missing out on the rights to health, protection and participation.
However, not all the children that are in school are learning. According to the study, almost half of 15-year-olds in the region do not master proficiency in basic reading, writing and mathematics skills. Millions more adolescents drop out of school before completing upper secondary education, lacking basic skills to compete in the job market.
To address these issues, UNICEF and its partners are calling on 20 governments in the region to double their efforts and ensure that all children, regardless of background, will have the right to a full cycle of quality education, from pre-primary to secondary education.
Click here to read the full report on out-of-school-children in the CEE/CIS region.