Gross enrolment ratio

Definition

Number of students enrolled in a given level of education, regardless of age, expressed as a percentage of the official school-age population corresponding to the same level of education. For the tertiary level, the population used is the 5-year age group starting from the official secondary school graduation age.

Data source

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

Calculation method

Divide the number of students enrolled in a given level of education regardless of age by the population of the age group which officially corresponds to the given level of education, and multiply the result by 100.

Data required

Total enrolment for a given level of education; population of the age group corresponding to the specified level.

Interpretation

A high GER generally indicates a high degree of participation, whether the pupils belong to the official age group or not. A GER value approaching or exceeding 100% indicates that a country is, in principle, able to accommodate all of its school-age population, but it does not indicate the proportion already enrolled. The achievement of a GER of 100% is therefore a necessary but not sufficient condition for enrolling all eligible children in school. When the GER exceeds 90% for a particular level of education, the aggregate number of places for students is approaching the number required for universal access of the official age group. However, this is a meaningful interpretation only if one can expect the under-aged and over-aged enrolment to decline in the future to free places for pupils from the expected age group.

Limitations

GER can exceed 100% due to the inclusion of over-aged and under-aged students because of early or late entrants, and grade repetition. In this case, a rigorous interpretation of GER needs additional information to assess the extent of repetition, late entrants, etc.

Purpose

To show the general level of participation in a given level of education. It indicates the capacity of the education system to enrol students of a particular age group. It can also be a complementary indicator to Net enrolment rate (NER) by indicating the extent of over-aged and under-aged enrolment.

Quality standards

GER at each level of education should be based on total enrolment 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.