This event highlights the importance of addressing the "Foundational First Fives" in improving students' learning outcomes. The presentation will argue that it will be hard to improve learning outcomes and increase primary school completion rates in a selected group of some 40 countries unless the "Foundational First Five" are addressed. There are three key problems or elements of the crisis: a) a bulging of enrollment in the first few grades that constitutes mostly of hidden repetition, b) a lack of learning of the most fundamental skills in the first few grades, and c) a lack of ECD. These issues are correlated and mutually cause each other in complex but powerful ways. The presentation will also argue that these problems are a good predictor of low completion rates, and waste a lot of money. Quantitative estimates of the predictive ability of these factors, upon the completion rate, will be provided, along with some estimates of the cost wastage created by the syndrome.