Unfortunately, about 240 million children and adolescents are out of school globally . Out-of-school rates are roughly two and a half times higher for girls , who often face discrimination and the expectation that they should focus exclusively on domestic and childcare duties.
Studies estimate that achieving universal primary and secondary education worldwide would help lift more than 240 million people out of poverty and effectively halve the number of people under the poverty threshold worldwide .
While significant progress has been made in school enrollment globally , enrollment, attendance and successful transitions into middle and secondary schools remain relatively low globally. In South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, children spend on average 6 to 8 years in schools, compared to 14 years in wealthier nations, with girls more likely to drop out of school early.
Increased access and enrollment are only the first steps. Even with recent progress being made in school access, learning is not always guaranteed. In the poorest contexts, fewer than 1 in 5 children are proficient in basic literacy or numeracy. Big classroom sizes, mixed-ability groups and overly ambitious curricula often result in poor learning outcomes. Teaching at the Right Level (TaRL) Africa improves the quality of education in schools, with interventions that ensure each child is supported by their teacher and mentors to learn at their own pace and come out of their schooling mastering literacy and numeracy.
Achieving universal, equitable school access is particularly important for girls, given the additional barriers to school and learning they often face . Positive effects of education for women include not only higher incomes, but also significant reductions child marriage and early pregnancies, improved health and nutrition, increased personal agency and enhanced participation in social, economic and political life .
Educate Girls works with communities, parents and girls in the most disadvantaged communities in India to make sure that every girl has access and opportunities to complete primary and secondary education.
“Low educational attainment for girls may also weaken solidarity in communities and reduce women’s participation in society. Lack of education is associated with a lower proclivity to altruistic behaviors, and it curtails women’s voice and agency in the household, at work and in institutions. Fundamentally, a lack of education disempowers women and girls in ways that deprive them of their basic rights.”
 “Child marriage and early childbearing: Each additional year of secondary education is associated with lower risks of marrying as a child and having a child before age 18 by six percentage points on average. If universal secondary education were achieved, child marriage could be virtually eliminated, and the prevalence of early childbearing could be reduced by up to three fourths since early childbearing goes hand in hand with child marriage. This also means that when assessing benefits from educating girls at the secondary level, we should include benefits from reducing child marriage and early childbearing.”