Rate of out-of-school children (household survey data)

Definition

Number of children of official primary school age who are not attending primary or secondary school, expressed as a percentage of the population of official primary school age. Children attending pre-primary education are considered out of school.

Calculation method

Subtract the number of primary school-age pupils attending primary or secondary school from the total population of official primary school age, divide the difference by the population of primary school age, and multiply by 100. Alternatively, subtract the adjusted net attendance rate for primary education from 100%.

Data required

Population of official primary school age, and number of pupils of primary school age attending primary or secondary school.

Data source

Data come from household surveys such as the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) and the Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS). In a small number of cases, other survey programs are used. For Brazil, household survey-based indicators are calculated from the Pesquisa Nacional por Amostra de Domicílios (PNAD).

Interpretation

The rate of out-of-school children is a useful measure for comparison across countries with different population sizes. It combines the number of out-of-school children of official primary age (who never attended school or dropped out), with the population of official primary school age that is nationally and internationally considered as the target population. The higher the out-of-school rate, the greater the need for interventions to target out-of-school children to achieve the goal of universal primary education. When disaggregated by sex, location and other characteristics, this indicator can identify groups or areas needing the greatest efforts.

Limitations

Treatment of missing data. All observations with missing information on age, whether the child is currently attending school, and the current education level attended, are omitted from the calculation of education indicators.

Purpose

To measure the size of the population of official primary school age who are not in school (because they never attended primary education or dropped out), to identify the target population for policies and interventions aimed at achieving universal primary education.

Quality standards

ISCED recalculation of household survey data for education indicators. The age ranges associated with the education levels are based on the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED). The education levels and grades used in the calculation of education indicators are consistent with each country’s ISCED mapping. Age data methodology. The data collection period for international household survey programmes like the DHS and MICS may not be aligned with the academic year. This can create distortions in the age data used to calculate education indicators. Education systems generally define the intended or “official” ages for a given level of education based on the age of the child at the beginning of the academic year. In other words, the reference date for ages is the start month of the academic year.By contrast, household surveys may collect data on the educational status and age of children many months after the start of the school year. The reference date for age information is the date the survey data were collected, which means it varies among households. Considering the gap between the start of the school year for which attendance data are collected and the date on which the survey was carried out is crucial for accurate calculation of education indicators. To minimize the associated error, the UIS takes different measures depending on the number of months between the start of the academic reference year and the time of survey data collection. • Where information is available on the birth month and year of school-age children, age data are recoded to the age at the start of the academic reference year.• If only the age in years is available, and data for the majority of observations were collected 6 or more months after the start of the school year, one full year is subtracted from the age recorded during data collection (adjusted age = recorded age – 1). For example, if the school year starts on 1 September and data for the majority of observations were collected in March of the following year or later, the ages will be adjusted.• If only the age in years is available, and data for the majority of observations were collected 5 months or less after the start of the school year, age data are used as recorded. For example, if the school year starts on 1 September and data for the majority of observations were collected during the period up to February of the following year, the recorded ages are used without adjustment.

Types of disaggregation

Data from household surveys are usually disaggregated by sex, location and household wealth quintile. The location (urban or rural) is defined according to national standards, which may differ across countries. Household wealth quintiles are usually determined with the help of an asset index, calculated from assets owned by individual households (housing material, water and sanitation, appliances, vehicles, livestock, etc.)