Yet, the unfortunate reality is that millions of children in South Asia are still out of school. This study will contribute to efforts of offering these children education opportunities by making them visible and providing evidence-based recommendations on how to reach out to this excluded group across the region, and in particular the four participating countries: Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
This South Asia study has been prepared as part of the Global Initiative on Out-of-School-Children (OOSCI) initiated by UNICEF and the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) in 2010. The initiative’s goal is to make a significant and sustained reduction in the number of children out of school around the world by:
- Developing comprehensive profiles of excluded children based on standardized and innovative statistical methods;
- Linking quantitative data with the socio-cultural barriers and bottlenecks that lead to exclusion;
- Identifying sound policies which address exclusion from education with a multi-sectorial perspective.
This South Asia study is primarily based on findings from four OOSCI country studies on Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. These four countries have strong national legislation and expressed commitment to the international frameworks to provide all children with basic education. Impressive achievements in improving basic school enrolment rates have been seen in these countries over the past decade. However, staggering numbers of children remain out of school, particularly in the three most populous countries: Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. It is clear that without further action, including some new and innovative strategies, inequity in school participation and ultimately opportunities in life will persist.