Girls are still more likely than boys to never set foot in a classroom, despite the tremendous progress made over the past 20 years. According to UIS data, 15 million girls of primary school age will never get the chance to learn to read or write in primary school compared to about 10 million boys if current trends continue. Over one-half of these girls – 9 million – live in sub-Saharan Africa, according to data for the 2014 school year.
To help countries fulfill their promise to close the gender gap by 2030, the UIS disaggregates all indicators by sex to the extent possible, produces parity indices and develops new indicators to better reflect the equity and inclusion of girls and boys. For example, the UIS regularly collects data on the percentage of schools in sub-Saharan Africa with single-sex toilets or the presence of female teachers in primary and secondary schools around the world. The Institute also tracks female and male students in higher education by fields of study, especially in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
UIS data are like a map, showing the educational pathways of girls and boys from pre-primary to tertiary education. We can clearly see and compare the extent to which girls start primary school, for example, repeat grades, drop out or make the transition to secondary education. In addition, the UIS is developing new global measures of learning outcomes to better evaluate the reading and numeracy skills of girls and boys at key points in their education.
These data empower countries and stakeholders – from advocacy groups to engaged citizens – to better target initiatives and policies, while benchmarking progress toward gender parity and equality in education.