Facts and Figures


  • As governments realize the importance of ECCE, more children than ever have access to pre-primary education – 46% of the world’s children were enrolled in 2009, compared to 33% in 1999. This represents a 40% increase in worldwide pre-primary enrollment since 1999 (UIS data 2009).
  • The largest increases in total pre-primary enrolment occurred in two of the regions that were furthest behind in 1999. In South and West Asia, enrolment more than doubled, increasing by 26 million (UIS data 2009).
  • Sub-Saharan Africa also registered gains, with pre-primary enrolment increasing by 6.2 million. Progress in the Arab States was slower: despite increases in enrolment, the gross enrolment ratio in 2009 remained low at 21% (UIS data 2009).
  • Supporting good nutrition in young children has become easier for millions of families. With the development of effective, low-cost solutions, child mortality and morbidity can be reduced by 36% (UNESCO 2011).
  • Child mortality rates have declined from 12 million deaths in 1990, to 7.6 million deaths in 2010 (UNICEF 2012).


  • Despite the increases in pre-primary enrolment, more than half of the world’s children were excluded from pre-primary education in 2009 (UIS data 2009).
  • Sub-Saharan Africa and Arab States showed lowest gross enrolment ratios, 18% and 21% respectively in 2009 (UIS data 2009).
  • High-income children are still much more likely than low-income children to experience pre-primary education, across all countries (UNESCO 2011).
  • In some countries, high-income children are four times more likely to receive pre-primary education than low-income children (UNESCO 2011).
  • Progress on improving nutrition for young children has been slow.  Overall, there is little change in the incidence of malnutrition since 1990, despite the availability of low-cost solutions (UNESCO 2011).
  • In Africa, 3.8 children died before age 5 in 2010, compared to 3.7 million children in 1970 (UNICEF 2012).
  • 38% of African children and as much as 47% of South Asian children were moderately or severely stunted in 2006-2010 (UNICEF 2012).
  • The Millennium Development Goal of reducing child mortality by two-thirds from 1990 to 2015 is unlikely to be achieved (UNESCO 2011).
  • In one recent study, almost 25% of young children in low- and middle-income countries had or were at risk for developmental disabilities. These children often do not receive the critical early intervention that could make all the difference in allowing them to reach their developmental potential (Lancet 2011).
  • Different regions face different challenges with regard to public-private partnership in providing pre-primary education. The world median of the percentage of private pre-primary education enrolment has slightly increased, from 28% in 1999 to 31% in 2009 (UIS data 2009).
  • The high proportions of reliance on private institution are found in the Caribbean (90%), Arab States (79%) and East Asia (51%) (UIS data 2009).
  • Only 1% of pre-primary enrolment is in countries in transition, followed by 19% in Latin America, and 20% in Western Europe and North America (UIS data 2009).
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