The state of global education in 8 charts

Global Partnership for Education Secretary
Global Partnership for Education Secretary
Publication Year:
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

These visual charts analyze education within the world's poorest countries, and how states are taking measures to combat it.

These 8 graphs explain the key challenges that education is facing around the world, the key progress developing countries are making, in particular GPE partner countries, and why education is crucial to achieving a better world for all.

In the second half of 2017, two major reports were released by the World Bank and the Global Education Monitoring Report to take the pulse of global education, in particular in the world's poorest countries. We extracted the 8 charts below from these reports, as well as from the Learning Generation by the Education Commission, and GPE's Results Report 2015/2016.

In a visual and easy-to-grasp way, these charts explain the key challenges facing education and some of its most promising results to bring about a more stable and prosperous world for all.

1. We can't fix what we don't know

The World Development Report 2018 highlighted the learning crisis around the world. Key in addressing it is to obtain the right data on how and how much children are learning, which is missing in many countries. At the lower secondary level, less than 50% of countries around the world gather data on reading results.


From: Learning to realize education's promise - Overview, p. 16

2. Gender parity is still an issue in many countries

Gender parity in school is about providing equal opportunities and equal support to all girls and boys. There has been important progress in this area, but in many countries, girls lag behind boys in the early grades, and in some cases boys lag behind girls in higher education.


 From: Accountability in education: Meeting our commitments - Summary, p. 40

3. The world needs more trained teachers

Globally, there are more trained teachers and fewer students per teacher, which is important to improve the quality of education. But a high population growth, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, will result in higher numbers of children in school, and thus a need for more teachers.

From: Accountability in education: Meeting our commitments - Summary, p. 48

From: Accountability in education: Meeting our commitments - Summary, p. 48

4. Improving the quality of education requires more funding... 

... from donors

Official development assistance (ODA) to education has gone down for six year in a row, but aid to other sectors like health or infrastructure keeps going up. Education aid needs to increase if we are to realize the promise of education.


 From: Learning generation - Executive summary, p. 12

... and from developing countries

Developing countries also need to increase their own education spending . GPE is asking them to spend 20% of their overall budgets on education and many of GPE partner countries already do.


From: Accountability in education: Meeting our commitments - Summary, p. 50

5. In GPE partner countries, more children complete primary and lower secondary school

The lines in the graphs below are rising faster for GPE partner countries than for developing countries overall. Proof that the GPE model of aligning all support to national education priorities works.


From: Results Report 2015/2016, Abridged version, p. 30

From: Results Report 2015/2016, Abridged version, p. 30

6. More education means more gender equality and better paying jobs

In all regions of the world, women benefit the most from achieving higher levels of education. All the more reason to invest in girls' education.


From: Learning to realize education's promise, p. 39

7. More education means a more democratic world

Education has a big role to play in making our world safer and more stable. For example, youth without an education are 9 times more likely to be recruited by rebel groups.


From: Learning to realize education's promise, p. 43


Suggested Articles

Adolescents+2 more topics
📣 Calling all #youth in the #AsiaPacific Region and beyond! Our friends at Youth Co:Lab are hosting the hybrid #YouthCoLab Summit 2022 this summer July 4-7, 2022 🤩 This year's Summit aims to highlight, encourage and celebrate the role of young people in the #DecadeofAction, while showcasing and...