Reports from Papua New Guinea say 30 percent of school aged children are not attending school.
The Post Courier reports about 600,000 children do not go to school at all, have dropped out for various reasons and do not complete their basic primary education.
The paper quotes the Education Secretary Michael Tapo saying major challenges remain despite enrolment rates increasing over the past several years.
Mr Tapo told the paper these include poor access to schools, low student retention rates and issues around the quality of education.
He says another reason for poor attendance is parents' fear of violence in schools which particularly affects girls.