Gross enrolment ratio in early childhood care and education programmes

Definition

Total number of children enrolled in early childhood care and education programmes, regardless of age, expressed as a percentage of the population in the relevant official age group.

Data source

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

Calculation method

Divide the total number of children enrolled in ECCE programmes, regardless of age, by the population in the relevant official age group, and multiply by 100.

Data required

Total enrolment in ECCE programmes; population in the relevant official age group.

Interpretation

Ratio indicates adequate capacity for this type of programme within the country. A ratio approaching or surpassing 100% indicates that the country is, in principle, able to accommodate all children in the ECCE age group

Limitations

Enrolment data for ECCE programmes can be affected by differences in reporting practices, namely by the extent to which childcare programmes with little or no pedagogical component are included in the statistics. The distinction between ECCE programmes and organized, custodial childcare can be difficult to define in an internationally consistent way, especially with regard to very young children, for whom the natural pace of development limits the pedagogical possibilities. Countries may also differ widely in their approaches to ECCE, with some focusing on experiential education while others stress skill development, academic development, the visual arts, etc.

Purpose

To measure the general level of participation of young children in ECCE programmes. It also indicates a country's capacity to prepare young children for primary education.

Quality standards

Data on enrolment should cover both public and private institutions and programmes. Since gross enrolment does not take the age factor into account, children below 3 years and above 5 years (or whatever the official age group may be) will also be included. Therefore, gross enrolment can exceed 100%. Only countries that require official registration of any ECCE provision are likely to have official data for this indicator. Countries that have data only for public or state-supervised pre-school educational programmes will need to supplement these data with information on enrolment in other types of ECCE programmes, possibly through case studies and/or sample surveys.

Types of disaggregation

By sex.