International Year of Youth - Fact Sheet - Youth and Education

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Education is central to development and to the improvement of the lives of young people globally, and as such has been identified as a priority area in internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals and the World Programme of Action for Youth. Education is important in eradicating poverty and hunger and in promoting sustained, inclusive and equitable economic growth and sustainable development. Increased efforts towards education accessibility, quality and affordability are central to global development efforts. Despite significant improvements in increasing primary school enrolment in some regions, the Millennium Development Goal of achieving universal primary level education by 2015 is unlikely to be met. Moreover, such improvements have not necessarily been followed by an equivalent transition to secondary education, vocational training, non-formal education or entry into the labour market, especially for girls and young women. Worldwide 11% of young people are non-literate, lacking basic numerical and reading skills, and as such lack the means to be able to sustain a living through full and decent employment. With youth unemployment and underemployment at persistently high levels worldwide, and with many young working poor lacking even primary-level education, such youth unemployment and underemployment rates act to jeopardize social inclusion, cohesion and stability.

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