Since 2000, the Arab States have made some progress, albeit uneven. Early childhood care and education (ECCE) programmes have expanded considerably but participation levels are still low. Responding to the needs of youth and adults remains a challenge. Illiteracy still affects almost 52 million adults, most of them women. And while there has been progress towards gender parity in primary and secondary education, gender equality remains elusive. Even though significant progress toward universal primary education can be noted, such as in Morocco, only Tunisia is projected to achieve the EFA goal of ensuring that all children who have access to primary school also complete it. In 2012 the region is still home to 4.5 million out-of-school children of primary school age and the provision of good quality education needs particular attention. The imbalances in the way many education systems are developing have both created and reinforced disparities. These must be redressed as the world is defining a new education agenda for children, youth and adults to benefit equally from the opportunities education provides, regardless of the circumstances they were born or live in.