Net enrolment rate


Total number of students in the theoretical age group for a given level of education enrolled in that level, expressed as a percentage of the total population in that age group.

Data source

School register, school survey or census for data on enrolment by age; population census or estimates for school-age population.

Calculation method

Divide the number of students enrolled who are of the official age group for a given level of education by the population for the same age group and multiply the result by 100.

Data required

Enrolment by single years of age for a given level of education; population of the age group corresponding to the given level of education.


A high NER denotes a high degree of coverage for the official school-age population. The theoretical maximum value is 100%. Increasing trends can be considered as reflecting improving coverage at the specified level of education. When the NER is compared with the GER, the difference between the two highlights the incidence of under-aged and over-aged enrolment. If the NER is below 100%, then the complement, i.e. the difference with 100%, provides a measure of the proportion of children not enrolled at the specified level of education. However, since some of these children/youth could be enrolled at other levels of education, this difference should in no way be considered as indicating the percentage of students not enrolled. To measure universal primary education, for example, adjusted primary NER is calculated on the basis of the percentage of children in the official primary school age range who are enrolled in either primary or secondary education. A more precise complementary indicator is the Age-specific enrolment ratio (ASER) which shows the participation in education of the population of each particular age, regardless of the level of education.


For tertiary education, this indicator is not pertinent because of the difficulties in determining an appropriate age group due to the wide variations in the duration of programmes at this level of education. As regards primary and secondary education, difficulties may arise when calculating an NER that approaches 100% if: 1. Reference date for entry to primary education does not coincide with the birth dates of all of the cohort eligible to enrol at this level of education; 2. Significant portion of the population starts primary school earlier than the prescribed age and consequently finishes earlier as well; 3. Increase in the entrance age to primary education but the duration remains unchanged. N.B. Although the NER cannot exceed 100%, values up to 105% have been obtained reflecting inconsistencies in the enrolment and/or population data.


To show the extent of coverage in a given level of education of children and youths belonging to the official age group corresponding to the given level of education.

Quality standards

NER at each level of education should be based on enrolment of the relevant age group in all types of schools and education institutions, including public, private and all other institutions that provide organized educational programmes.

Types of disaggregation

By sex and by level of education.