Promoting Education Equity | Asian Development Bank

Equal Access to Education in Asia and the Pacific

Unequal access to education in the region remains pronounced, beginning at the basic education level, and compounded at the secondary level and above. Children who are unable to go to school—even in countries with high enrollments—tend to be from disadvantaged population groups.

Girls and women are at a disadvantage in education in most DMCs, as are children and youth who

  • are from poor families or from families that are at risk of sliding back into poverty,
  • live in rural and remote areas,
  • belong to ethnic and linguistic minorities,
  • have disabilities, and/or
  • are refugees or migrants.

Inclusive education calls for strategies quite different from simply expanding the mainstream education system. For example, education scholarships and stipends linked with conditional cash transfer programs have produced positive impacts, particularly when targeted at girls or poor households. Such programs foster inclusiveness and equity across the education system, and they are widely acknowledged as key factors in advancing economic growth in DMCs.