The eight countries that make up the region have made significant strides in increasing the number of children enrolled in school. Across the region, enrolment in primary education is 90 per cent, up from 75 per cent in 2000.
About 88 per cent of girls in the region attend school. In 2000, only 68 per cent of girls were enrolled in school.
However barriers to education still exist. The most persistent include poverty, gender, location and whether a child has to work to help support the family. Children with disabilities and children affected by emergencies including natural disasters are excluded from educational opportunities. In Nepal, children with disabilities are around 4.5 times more likely to be out of school. In 2012, 5.3 million were out of school as a result of conflict.
There are an estimated 27.4 million primary and lower secondary school-age out-of-school children in the region in 2015.
Countries in the region that participate in the Out-of-School Children Initiative include:
Interventions based on the initiative’s efforts are beginning to take effect. In Bangladesh, for example, research showed that some social traditions devalued girl’s education and inhibited their access to school. Interventions have included awareness campaigns, programmes that place single-sex schools closer to homes, reproductive health programmes and initiatives to delay the age of marriage. The efforts are being linked to a rise in the number of girls who enrol in school and a decrease in the number of girls who marry by age 18.
To learn more about useful programmes that are able to reach the excluded children in South Asia and around the world, download the full report: Effective Interventions Aimed at Reaching Out-of-School Children.
Check out the latest on the region’s out-of-school children in the Educate All Girls and Boys brief produced by UNICEF South Asia.
Find out more on the Out-of-School Children South Asia Initiative and the children who do not attend school in the Out-of-School Children Initiative South Asia regional study.