Goal 2: Achieve Universal Primary Education



Every human being should have the opportunity to make a better life for themselves. Unfortunately, too many children in the world today grow up without this chance, because they are denied their basic right to even attend primary school. A sustainable end to world poverty as we know it, as well as the path to peace and security, require that citizens in every country are empowered to make positive choices and provide for themselves and their families. This can only be achieved if all the children of the world are given the chance to learn in a high-quality schooling environment at least through primary school.



What are the Targets?

Goal 2 of the Millennium Development Goals sets out by the year 2015 to:

  • Ensure that all boys and girls complete a full course of primary schooling

Did you know?

  • One in four adults in the developing world – 872 million people – is illiterate.
    (Oxfam UK – Education Now Campaign)
  • More than 100 million children remain out of school. (Source:UNFPA)
  • 46% of girls in the world’s poorest countries have no access to primary education. (Source:ActionAid)
  • More than 1 in 4 adults cannot read or write: 2/3 are women. (Source:ActionAid)
  • Universal primary education would cost $10 billion a year – that’s half what Americans spend on ice cream. (Source:ActionAid)
  • Young people who have completed primary education are less than half as likely to contract HIV as those missing an education. Universal primary education would prevent 700,000 cases of HIV each year – about 30% all new infections in this age group. (Source:Oxfam)

Reports website and other documents related to Goal 2

The Education For All (EFA) Global Monitoring Report 2006 – The EFA Global Monitoring Report 2006 aims to shine a stronger policy spotlight on the more neglected goal of literacy – a foundation not only for achieving EFA but, more broadly, for reaching the overarching goal of reducing human poverty. Download the full report here.

Girls Can’t Wait: Why girls’ Education Matters, and How to make It Happen Now – This is the year that the world will miss the first, and most critical of all the Millennium Development Goals – gender parity in education by 2005. Over the next decade, unless world leaders take drastic action now, unacceptably slow progress on girls’ education will account for over 10 million unnecessary child and maternal deaths, will cost poor countries as much as 3 percentage points in lost economic growth, and lead to at least 3.5 million avoidable cases of HIV/AIDS. In response to this unacknowledged emergency, this paper proposes a new action plan to get every girl in school and learning. Read the full document here.

Partnerships for Girls’ Education – Partnerships for Girls’ Education document and analyse the achievements and challenges of actual partnerships for girls’ education, sharing detailed case studies from Bangladesh, Egypt, the Philippines, Peru, and sub-Saharan Africa, and suggesting strategies for progress towards the Millennium Development Goals. – To download the full document click here

UNESCO 2005 Report: Education for All, The Quality Imperative – Education for all cannot be achieved without dramatic improvements in the quality of learning. Yet in many countries, a large gap exists between the number of students graduating from school and those among them mastering a minimum set of cognitive skills. This report is an authoritative reference that aims to inform, influence and sustain genuine commitment towards education for all. To read the Report visit the UNESCO website.

UNESCO EFA Global Monitoring Report 2003/4 Gender and Education for All—The Leap to Equality – This report highlights the priorities for national strategies and how the international community is meeting its commitment towards equal education for all. To read the report visit theUNESCO website.

Missing an Education – Outlines the activities of 117 countries that took part in Global Action Week 2004 and honors the commitment of NGOs, unions, activists and children to the Global Campaign for Education and how their commitment has affected government policies and attitudes. To learn more visit the Global Campaign for Education website.

What Works In Girls’ Education Evidence and Policies from the Developing World – A report by the Council on Foreign Relations 2004 on the Importance of girls’ education across broad range of areas–children’s health, social stability and economic growth. Read the report

Achieving universal primary education by 2015 – a chance for every child – The book assesses whether universal primary education can be achieved by 2015. The study focuses on the largest low-income countries that are furthest from the goal, home to about seventy five percent of the children out of school globally. By analyzing education policies, and financing patterns in relatively high-performing countries, the study identifies a new policy, and financing framework for faster global progress in primary education. Visit the World Bank website to download the book

The State of the World’s Children 2004—Girls, Education and Development – The report focuses on girls’ education and its relationship to all other development goals and to the promise of Education For All. It presents a multi-layered case for investing in girls’ education as a strategic way to ensure the rights of both boys and girls and to advance a country’s development agenda. Visit the UNICEF website to read the report

The Millennium Development Goals They Are About Children – UNICEF highlights the importance of protecting rights of child which is also in accordance with fulfilling MDGs.Read more here