Out-of-school rate (1 year before primary, primary education, lower secondary education, upper secondary education)

Definition

Proportion of children and young people in the official age range for the given level of education who are not enrolled in pre-primary, primary, secondary or higher levels of education.

Data source

Administrative data from schools or household survey data on enrolment by single year of age; population censuses and surveys for population estimates by single year of age (if using administrative data on enrolment); administrative data from ministries of education on the structure (entrance age and duration) of the education system.

Source definition

UNESCO Institute for Statistics.

Calculation method

The number of students of the official age for the given level of education enrolled in pre-primary, primary, secondary or higher levels of education is subtracted from the total population of the same age. The result is expressed as a percentage of the population of the official age for the respective level of education. For primary, lower secondary and upper secondary education, the official age groups for the respective level of education are used in the indicator calculation. For pre-primary education, the indicator is calculated for children aged one year before the official age of entry into primary education.

Data required

Enrolment by single year of age in each level of education, population estimates by single year of age and data on the structure (entrance age and duration) of each level of education.

Interpretation

The higher the rate and number of out-of-school children and adolescents, the greater the need to focus on improving access to education. Some children have never been in school or may not eventually enrol as late entrants. Other children may have initially enrolled but dropped out before reaching the intended age of completion of the given level. When disaggregated by sex, location and other characteristics, this indicator can identify excluded population groups.

Limitations

Inconsistencies between enrolment and population data from different sources may result in inaccurate estimates of out-of-school children and adolescents. Data from household surveys conducted late in the school year where ages are recorded at the enumeration date may result in over-estimates. For primary, lower secondary and upper secondary education, the official age groups for the respective level of education are used in the indicator calculation. The out-of-school rate for pre-primary education is calculated for children aged one year before the official age of entry into primary education.

Purpose

To identify the size of the population in the official age range for the given level of education who are not enrolled in school in order that they can be better targeted and appropriate policies can be put in place to ensure they have access to education.

Types of disaggregation

By age or age-group and sex (administrative data); by age or age-group and sex, location, and socio-economic status (household surveys) and others as available.