Access to primary education is a basic right of every child. An effective primary education can build solid foundation and open avenues for future successWith its profound implications on both the individual and societyprimary education plays a crucial role in reducing extreme poverty and promoting social changes. The Sustainable Development Agenda acknowledges the importance of primary education in Goal 4 which stipulates that by 2030, the world should ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all, including a target on universal access to primary educationThough there are varying standards, primary education is typically designed for children 6 to 11 years of age. 

Significant progress has been made toward achieving universal primary education. Globally, the adjusted net attendance rate reached 87 per cent in 2019, and about four out of five children attending primary education completed it. Additionally, over the past two decades, the number of out-of-school children was reduced by over 40 per cent. However, there is still a long way to go:  58 million children of primary school age remain out of school, with the majority of them coming from marginalized groups. In additionrecent MICS results show that many children do not have foundational reading and numeracy skills, highlighting the massive challenge to achieving inclusive and equitable quality education for all.   

Data

Notes on the data

For a full picture of children’s school participation, UNICEF uses two sources of data: enrolment data, which are based on administrative records, and attendance data from household surveys. In half of all countries, data on primary and secondary education come from more than one source.  All data on primary and secondary education used by UNICEF are based on official International Standard Classifications of Education (ISCED) and may deviate somewhat from those used by country-specific school systems.

Definition of indicators

Gender parity index – The ratio of female-to-male values of a given indicator. A GPI of 1 indicates parity between the sexes.

Literacy rate – Total number of literate persons in a given age group, expressed as a percentage of the total population in that age group. The adult literacy rate measures literacy among persons aged 15 years and older, and the youth literacy rate measures literacy among persons aged 15 to 24 years.

Out-of-school population – Total number of primary or lower secondary-school-age children who are not enrolled in primary (ISCED 1) or secondary (ISCED 2 and 3) education.

Pre-primary school gross enrolment ratio – Number of children enrolled in pre-primary school, regardless of age, expressed as a percentage of the total number of children of official pre-primary school age.

Primary school gross enrolment ratio – Number of children enrolled in primary school, regardless of age, expressed as a percentage of the total number of children of official primary school age.

Primary school net attendance ratio – Number of children attending primary or secondary school who are of official primary school age, expressed as a percentage of the total number of children of official primary school age. Because of the inclusion of primary-school-age children attending secondary school, this indicator can also be referred to as a primary adjusted net attendance ratio.

Primary school net enrolment ratio – Number of children enrolled in primary or secondary school who are of official primary school age, expressed as a percentage of the total number of children of official primary school age. Because of the inclusion of primary-school-age children enrolled in secondary school, this indicator can also be referred to as a primary adjusted net enrolment ratio.

Secondary school net attendance ratio – Number of children attending secondary or tertiary school who are of official secondary school age, expressed as a percentage of the total number of children of official secondary school age. Because of the inclusion of secondary-school-age children attending tertiary school, this indicator can also be referred to as a secondary adjusted net attendance ratio.

Secondary school net enrolment ratio – Number of children enrolled in secondary school who are of official secondary school age, expressed as a percentage of the total number of children of official secondary school age. Secondary net enrolment ratio does not include secondary-school-age children enrolled in tertiary education, owing to challenges in age reporting and recording at that level.

Survival rate to last primary grade – Percentage of children entering the first grade of primary school who eventually reach the last grade of primary school.

References

  1. UNESCO, Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2013/14: Teaching and Learning – Achieving Quality for All, UNESCO, Paris, 2014.
  2. UNESCO Institute for Statistics, global databases, 2014.
  3. UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Global Education Digest 2012, Opportunities Lost: The impact of grade repetition and early school leaving, UIS, Montreal, 2012.
  4. UNICEF, The State of the World’s Children 2015: Reimagine the Future – Innovation for Every Child, UNICEF, New York, 2014.