The UNESCO chief urged world policy makers to prioritize education issue on their agenda, warning that global efforts to reduce the number of juvenile dropouts have been halted.
"There were 61 million children and 71 million adolescents (who dropped)out of school in 2010, as same as in 2008," Director-General Irina Bokova told the first Global Education for All (EFA) Meeting Thursday.
As many as 200 million people in developing countries, including 116 million women, never completed primary school education and lacked skills to find decent jobs, Bokova noted.
"These are failures of education systems," she stressed. "They are failures of public policy."
Bokova urged countries to ensure access to skill and knowledge for livelihoods to everyone as it is "vital for dignity and rights ... It holds the key to the sustainability of all development."
The three-day meeting, which began on Wednesday, is aimed at reviewing previous progress toward the EFA goals set at the World Education Forum in 2000 and discussing key steps in the EFA process up to 2015.
In his speech to the meeting, Chinese Vice Minister of Education Hao Ping introduced the major breakthrough made by China, stressing that his country will respond positively to the UN initiative of Education First, and continue to prioritize the development of education.
Over the past decade, China has provided free access to nine-year education nationwide, reduced the adult illiteracy rate to about 4 percent, and basically eliminated gender gap in enrollments of primary and secondary education, Hao noted.
Hao also urged governments to step up assistance to the education development of developing countries.
The EFA, a global commitment in partnership with the UNESCO members and international organizations, aims to ensure that basic learning for every child, youth and adult is met within a generation and sustained thereafter.