Latest Multi-Indicator Cluster Survey results show equity focus is paying off
SKOPJE, 26 April 2013: New data from the fourth round of UNICEF’s Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) provide evidence of improvement in a broad range of common, health and education indicators. However, continuing disparities, widening gaps in early childhood development, and slow progress in child protection call for a renewed commitment.
At an event to launch the latest MICS data, UNICEF and partners reflected on the findings of the international household survey, concluding that the numbers behind the national averages are key to ensuring all children enjoy their rights.
“The value of MICS data is in understanding inequities and disparities behind the national averages. And clearly the numbers show that investment and interventions targeted to those who are missing out do actually pay off,” said Mr. Sheldon Yett, UNICEF, Country Representative.
The numbers show that progress is notable in many areas both on the national level and among the women and children living in Roma settlements. Improvement in access to primary education among the poor (from 86% in 2005 to 96% in 2011) and among Roma boys and girls, have contributed to the country achieving almost universal access to primary school (98% in 2011). Likewise, the gains at the national level in access to secondary education (up from 63% in 2005 to 83%) are greatly the result of gains in access among the poor (33% in 2005 to 62% in 2011) and Roma.
“I’m really pleased to see that the numbers show that the reforms in education are producing results,” said Mr. Pance Kralev, Minister of Education and Science. “Since 2007/2008 legislation is in place for nine year primary school and compulsory secondary education, with a focus on developing key competencies defined by European Union as necessary for lifelong learning.”
The numbers also show significant progress in early childhood development; however looking further into the numbers there is worrying new evidence of widening gaps. For example, while access to early childhood development services has almost doubled at the national level (from 11% in 2005 to 22% in 2011), they show that children from the richest families and children living in urban areas are the primary ones benefiting - the gap between the rich and the poor in 2005 was 24 percentage points, while the gap in 2011 is 56 percentage points.
“With the data presented today we get a clear picture of the situation of children and women in the Republic of Macedonia, from different aspects, which for us ministries and other representatives from the Government here today, give indicators and an excellent roadmap for our future efforts,” said Mr. Spiro Ristovski, Minister of Labor and Social Policy.
Despite the numerous gains, the numbers alert to persisting disparities that call for a renewed equity focus and investment in interventions that target the most vulnerable to ensure that all children enjoy their rights. The latest round of MICS also provides new data on areas such as family planning choices, lifestyle choices, providing key information critical for public health policies.
“This research serves as a roadmap and highlights where we need to focus and areas where we can continue to improve health care, and the vulnerable groups we need to target efforts towards,” said Mr. Nasuf Ipcja, State Secretary of the Ministry of Health.
MICS is an international household survey programme developed and supported by UNICEF. Conducted every five years, it provides up-to-date information on the situation of children and women, which helps monitor progress towards the Millennium Development Goals and other international commitments. The survey results presented today were part of the fourth round of MICS and based on a nationally representative sample survey of households, women and children. In addition to carrying out MICS on a nationally representative sample, in this country a survey was also carried out on a separate sample of Roma settlements. It provides an abundant source of invaluable, statistically sound, and, internationally comparable data across a range of indicators, in health, nutrition, child protection, education, and general living conditions.
For more information on the global MICS project, please visit http://www.childinfo.org.
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