The policy note synthesises findings from baseline mixed-methods research as part of the Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence (GAGE) longitudinal study (2015–2024). Our work included nearly 7,000 adolescent girls and boys between the ages of 10 and 19, as well as their caregivers, service providers and programme and policy actors. Paying careful attention to gender and regional differences, here we focus on adolescents’ educational aspirations, caregiver support for education, access to education, learning and educational transitions.
Our research found that although adolescents’ and parents’ educational apparitions are generally high, there remain some significant barriers to adolescents accessing quality education. These include household poverty, overcrowded and poorly resourced classrooms, and limited capacity among teachers for positive discipline approaches. The challenges facing adolescents in pastoralist regions (including a dearth of teachers trained in the local language) and adolescents with disabilities (due to chronic under investment in special needs education and social protection for vulnerable families) are particularly acute. We also found that early adolescence marks a watershed point for intervention, with transitions to upper-primary and secondary school needing more support given the increased salience of gender norms in adolescence and the higher opportunity costs of their schooling.