6 Achieve universal primary education

Where are we?

UNDP Picture This Burkina Faso
Photo: Elodie Gaillard/UNDP Picture This
  • 43 million more African children enrolled in primary school in 2010 than in 1999, and net primary school enrolment rose from 64 per cent in 2000 to 87 per cent in 2010.
  • Completion rates have not matched rising enrolment, and stands at a mere 70 per cent. 

Most African countries have achieved universal primary enrolment, with rates above 90 per cent. As a result, the continent as a whole is expected to achieve Goal 2. School feeding programmes and access to preschools have been instrumental in reducing dropout rates.

However, low completion and high grade repetition remain a challenge. One in three students enrolled in a primary school will dropout. Reasons include late entry, poverty, poor quality of education and a lack of awareness of the importance of schools. Some 30 per cent of students with six years of schooling cannot read a sentence, and girls are more likely to drop out than boys.

UNDP's work in Africa