Educational Support needed Children Grows to 222 Million

About 333 million children, or 1 in 6, live in extreme poverty, enduring conditions of deprivation that encompass basic needs, dignity, opportunities

In a shocking revelation, the United Nations said that the number of crisis-impacted school aged children requiring educational support has grown from an estimated 75 million in 2016 to 222 million in 2022.

Of the 222 million, 78.2 million are now out of school, which includes 54 per cent females, 17 per cent with functional difficulties and 10 per cent forcibly displaced, according to the latest report by the Education Cannot Wait (ECW), a UN global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises.

The report mentioned that 119.6 million are not achieving minimum proficiency in reading or mathematics by the early grades, despite attending school. It said that 24.2 million are in pre-primary school or in primary or secondary school achieving minimum proficiency in mathematics or reading but still affected by crises and in need of support.

In Pre-COVID, the report stated that only nine per cent of crisis-affected children achieved minimum proficiency in mathematics and only 15% of crisis-affected children achieved minimum proficiency in reading in the early grades.


Noting that the dreams of the children for the future are being snatched away by conflicts, displacement, and climate disasters, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said “in the face of these crises, the UN’s fund for education in emergencies -Education Cannot wait – is standing with children across 40 countries.” “We need governments, businesses, foundations and individuals to support the vital work of Education Cannot Wait,” he added.


The report indicates that 84 per cent of the children losing out on school, are living in areas with protracted crises. And the vast majority are in countries specifically targeted through ECW’s ground-breaking multi-year investments, including Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Mali, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Yemen. “From inside makeshift refugee settlements, the damaged walls of classrooms, and communities torn apart by war and disaster, millions of vulnerable children are desperately holding on to the hope that education will allow them to realize their dreams of becoming a doctor, engineer, scientist, or teacher. Their need has never been greater, nor more urgent,” said ECW.


To respond to this pressing global education crisis, ECW and strategic partners launched 222 Million Dreams resource mobilization campaign in Geneva. While already delivering quality education to over five million children across more than 40 crisis affected countries, the campaign calls on donors, philanthropic foundations and high-net-worth individuals to urgently mobilise resources to scale up ECW’s investments. “Help us keep 222 million dreams alive,” declared Mr. Guterres,

Gordon Brown, UN Special Envoy for Global Education and Chair of ECW’s High-Level Steering Group, called for more financial resources “to ensure that every child and young person can receive a quality education exist in the world”.

  • Prioritisation of assistance to countries with large numbers of   Out-of-School Children Initiatve (OOSCiE) should be considered.
  • Affirmative action should be undertaken to i) close existing data gaps in Education in Emergencies (EiE) via development of joint approaches and tools, and ii) integrate EiE reporting within SDG 4 reporting, ideally via a dedicated disaggregation layer.
  • The Education in Emergencies EiE community of practitioners should harmonize data collection modalities and improve clarity and consistency of communication of research findings.
  • Enter a process of continuous improvement of the current methodology

Global data on the scale and severity of the impact of crises on the education needs of affected children and adolescents is key to inform advocacy and guide programming.

The objectives of Education Cannot Wait report is to –

  • Reach a shared understanding of the size of the population of out-of-school children in emergencies (OOSCIE);
  • Reach a shared understanding of the number of children and adolescents in need of educational support in crises;
  • Justify and advocate for targeted action on crisis-affected children and adolescents in need of educational support, especially in the case of forgotten and protracted crises;
  • Monitor trends in the number of OOSCiE over time, countries and crises;
  • Provide indicative estimates of how many children caught in crises may not be learning;
  • Identify data gaps specific to the Education in Emergencies (EiE) space.  
  • Provide recommendations to improve data collection and analysis in EiE


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