With the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), countries have promised to achieve universal completion of primary and secondary education by 2030. This paper, jointly released by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) and the Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report, illustrates the magnitude of this challenge. Globally, 263 million children, adolescents and youth between the ages of 6 and 17 are currently out of school, according to a new set of UIS indicators. A key obstacle to achieving the target is persistent disparities in education participation linked to sex, location and wealth, especially at the secondary level. Selected policy responses to promote enrolment in secondary education are reviewed. 

The aim of this briefing is to propose a human rights-centered policy agenda to tackle economic inequality and the social inequalities it reinforces. It sets out to illustrate how human rights can provide both a normative framework and a set of accountability mechanisms to accelerate success in meeting this most cross-cutting of sustainable development goals.