At least 250 million of the world’s 650 million primary school age children can’t read, write, or do basic mathematics, a report released last week by the United Nations finds.
The report found that 130 million are in school but have not achieved the minimum benchmarks for learning, and almost 120 million have spent little or no time in a classroom. A lack of well-trained teachers was cited as a chief cause of the problem.
On the plus side, the report said three countries reduced their out-of-school populations by at least 85 percent in the past five years—Laos, Rwanda, and Vietnam. Sub-Saharan Africa is the region lagging furthest behind.
A version of this article appeared in the February 05, 2014 edition of Education Week as 250 Million Children Worldwide Can’t Read