UNESCO Institute for Statistics worked with FFunction to create the interactive data visualization Out of School Children, which weaves together animated illustrations and data exploration to paint a picture of a complex and pressing issue: why 58 million children around the world do not attend school despite the international pledge to ensure Education for All by 2015.
Out of School Children brings together statistics from household and administrative sources to illustrate who these children are, where they live, and why they are out of school. The tool presents a nuanced picture of out-of-school children, and pinpoints critical factors that are driving exclusion, making it a valuable resource for anyone concerned with the right to education. The interactive is a companion to a joint report from the UIS and UNICEF, who are working with more than 50 countries to identify children excluded from education and to shape policies to get them into classrooms and learning. Both products were unveiled at the Education World Forum in January 2015 in London, England.
The data produced by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics and UNICEF allowed FFunction to delve into different perspectives; comparing how various groups are excluded: girls vs. boys, rich vs. poor and rural vs. urban, which gives the viewer a much better feel for the barriers these children face. We also included an introductory animation to show the magnitude of the overall problem and introduce the user to the issues at play. Data from more than 25 countries are included in the interactive, spanning Africa, Asia and the Arab States, where despite progress the most marginalized children are still beyond the reach of education.
In general, poor, rural children are statistically less likely to be in school, as are girls. The data tool allows the user to explore the situation at the country-level. In Nigeria, for example, where 8.7 million children are out of school, two-thirds of children in the poorest households are not in school and 90% of them will probably never enrol. In contrast only 5% of the richest children are out of school and most will start in the future.
According to the UIS, the tool will be updated as data from more countries becomes available.
As the world turns its attention to the next set of global development goals, the interactive visualization is expected to contribute to the conversation around the need for more investment in innovative and targeted approaches to education, such as programmes to reach child labourers and disabled children.The Out-of-School Children interactive is simple to navigate; users can select a country and a demographic group to see the ratio of children in school and out of school based on the total primary school-age population. An animated bar chart shows the breakdown of the two groups according to whether they will start late or not at all. Pop-up comments give the user context around the unique issues these children face. FFunction was inspired by images from the countries portrayed to create illustrations of children. The animated figures move with every click, bringing the numbers to life.
The interactive presents undeniable evidence that we need to do more to reach marginalized children as part of global efforts to improve access to education and the quality of learning.