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New York, 13 July 2022 – Ahead of World Youth Skills Day, UNICEF and the Education Commission are calling for urgent investments to address the global learning and skills crisis.

According to a new report released today by the Education Commission and UNICEF on the occasion of World Youth Skills Day, almost three quarters of young people aged 15 to 24 in 92 countries for which data is available, are not on track to acquire the skills needed for the job.

«Recovering learning: Are children and youth on track in skills development?» presents an analysis of skills development in early childhood, primary school age children and youth. The data highlights low levels of skills among children and young people across all age groups, with young people in low-income countries least likely to have the skills needed to thrive, especially in future employment opportunities, decent work and entrepreneurship.

Countries around the world are facing a skills crisis

«A generation of inspired and skilled children and youth is essential for the prosperity, progress and success of societies and economies. Yet the majority of children and young people around the world have been let down by their education systems, leaving them uneducated, uninspired and unskilled – the perfect storm for unproductivity,” said Robert Jenkins, director of the education at UNICEF. “To address this crisis, there is an urgent need to invest in cost-effective and proven solutions to accelerate learning and skills development for current and future generations. »

With high rates of out-of-school youth and low secondary skills, countries around the world are facing a skills crisis, with the majority of young people unprepared to participate in the labor force. today, says the report.

Significant disparities between countries and people
Deep disparities between countries and among people from the poorest communities increase inequality. In at least one in three low-income countries for which data is available, more than 85% of young people are off track when it comes to acquiring secondary-level skills, digital skills and specific skills to a job, the report says.

“To give young people the best chance to succeed and recover from learning losses due to the pandemic, we need to support them holistically. But we can’t recover what we don’t measure. We need to know where children and young people are in acquiring the set of skills they need and monitor their progress. That is why the Education Commission, UNICEF and partners have worked to fill critical data gaps, including through the launch of the World Skills Clock, which tracks progress and educate young people around the world about learning skills,” said Education Commission Executive Director Liesbet Steer.

Data from 77 countries show that less than three quarters of children aged 3 to 5 are developmentally on track in at least three of the four literacy domains – numeracy, physical, social-emotional and learning. By age 10, the majority of children in low- and middle-income countries cannot read and understand simple text. These foundational skills are the building blocks of learning and skill development, the report says.

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