93 MILLION CHILDREN OF PRIMARY SCHOOL AGE ARE OUT OF SCHOOL
Number of primary-school-age children not in school, by region (2006)
MORE THAN 85 PER CENT OF PRIMARY-SCHOOL-AGE CHILDREN ATTEND SCHOOL
Primary school net enrolment/attendance ratio, by region (2000–2006)
Attendance data based on household surveys show that the number of children of primary school age who are out of school has declined markedly in recent years, from 115 million in 2002 to 93 million in 2005–2006. This is substantial progress, and many countries are close to delivering universal primary education. Yet, in other countries and regions the task remains enormous, as for example in sub-Saharan Africa, where around 41 million primary-school-age children are out of school, and in South Asia, where 31.5 million remain out of school.
One in six children of secondary school age attends primary school because they started school late or had to repeat grades. These children are effectively occupying places that could accommodate children of primary school age currently out of school. This underlines that inefficiencies within the whole education system need addressing.
For countries nearing universal primary education, reaching the last 10 per cent of children out of school is a particular challenge, requiring different strategies as well as concerted effort and investment.
17 PER CENT OF SECONDARY SCHOOL-AGE CHILDREN ATTEND PRIMARY SCHOOL
Primary school net enrolment/attendance ratio of secondary-school-age children, by region (2000–2006)
IN MORE THAN 60 DEVELOPING COUNTRIES, AT LEAST 90 PER CENT OF PRIMARY-SCHOOL-AGE CHILDREN ARE IN SCHOOL
Primary school net enrolment/attendance ratio (2000–2006)
IN 15 COUNTRIES, PRIMARY NET ATTENDANCE RATIOS INCREASED BY AT LEAST 10 PERCENTAGE POINTS FROM 2000 TO 2006
Trends in primary school net attendance ratio, in countries where the ratio increased 10 or more percentage points (2000–2006)
HOUSEHOLD WEALTH IS THE STRONGEST DETERMINANT OF SCHOOL ATTENDANCE IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
Children from the poorest households are least likely to attend primary school Primary school net attendance ratio, by background characteristics (2000–2006)
About primary education data
For a full picture of children’s school participation, UNICEF uses two sources: enrolment data, which are based on administrative records, and attendance data from household surveys. UNICEF’s analysis is therefore different from that of other organizations, including UNESCO, that base their analyses only on enrolment data. Half of all countries record data on primary education from more than one source.
Enrolment rates are generally higher than attendance rates. In Eastern/Southern Africa, enrolment is as much as 13 per cent higher than attendance. Taking account of attendance as well as enrolment data inevitably means that the estimate of children out of school is higher, and that reported progress towards education goals is not as swift.
Primary-school-age children out of school refers to children of this age group who are not in primary or secondary school but who may be in preschool or in other schools outside the formal education system.
NUMBER OF CHILDREN OUT OF SCHOOL HAS DROPPED
Both estimation methods show decline
Numbers (in millions) of primary-school-age children out of school estimated using net enrolment data and combined net enrolment/attendance data (2002 and 2005–2006)
HALF OF COUNTRIES HAVE PRIMARY EDUCATION DATA FROM MORE THAN ONE SOURCE
Sources of data used in UNICEF analysis (2000–2006)
DO PRIMARY ENROLMENT RATIOS OVERESTIMATE CHILDREN’S SCHOOL PARTICIPATION?
Percentage-point difference between net enrolment ratio and net attendance ratio in primary education, in regions where the difference is 3 percentage points or more (1999–2006)