The millennium pledge made by international leaders that all children would have a primary education by 2015 is going to be "missed by a large margin".
That's the stark conclusion of a report published by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco).
Despite an initial surge that saw tens of millions of extra children enrolling in primary schools, the report says progress is now "grinding to a halt".
The report, published in Paris on Tuesday, shows the number of children without this basic level of education has fallen from 108 million to 61 million in the first decade of this century.
It means that since 2000, the percentage of the world's children entering primary education has risen from 80% to 90%.
It's a leap forward, but some distance from reaching the finishing line.
"It is simply unacceptable that out-of-school numbers have stagnated, and in Africa have risen," said Gordon Brown, former UK prime minister and now UN global education envoy.
But he added: "Now is not the time for defeatism and despair," and called on the international community to "redouble our efforts".