Participation rate in organized learning (one year before the official primary entry age), by sex


SDG Indicator 4.2.2: Percentage of children aged one year before the official primary entry age, who participate in one or more organized learning programme, including programmes which offer a combination of education and care. Participants in early childhood education and in primary education are both included. The target age varies by country depending on the official age for entry to primary education.

An organized learning programme is one which consists of a coherent set or sequence of educational activities designed with the intention of achieving pre-determined learning outcomes or the accomplishment of a specific set of educational tasks. Early childhood and primary education programmes are examples of organized learning programmes.

Early childhood and primary education are defined in the 2011 revision of the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED 2011). Early childhood education is typically designed with a holistic approach to support children’s early cognitive, physical, social and emotional development and to introduce young children to organized instruction outside the family context. Primary education offers learning and educational activities designed to provide students with fundamental skills in reading, writing and mathematics and establish a solid foundation for learning and understanding core areas of knowledge and personal development. It focuses on learning at a basic level of complexity with little, if any, specialisation.

The official primary entry age is the age at which children are expected to start primary education according to national legislation or policies. Where more than one age is specified, for example, in different parts of a country, the most common official entry age (i.e. the age at which most children in the country are expected to start primary) is used for the calculation of this indicator at the global level.

Data source

Administrative data from schools and other centres of organized learning or from household surveys on enrolment by single year of age in early learning programmes; 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 official entrance age to primary education.

Source definition

UNESCO Institute for Statistics

Calculation method

The number of children at the target age who participate in an organized learning programme expressed as a percentage of the total population of the same age.

Data required

Number of children participating in organized learning activities by single year of age; population estimates by single year of age (if using administrative data); and data on the official entrance age to primary education.


A high value of the indicator, at or near 100%, indicates that all or most children are participating in organized learning immediately before the official entrance age to primary education. A low value of the indicator indicates low or delayed participation in organized learning programmes.


Participation in learning programmes in the early years is not full time for many children, meaning that exposure to learning environments outside of the home will vary in intensity. The indicator measures the percentage of children who are exposed to organized learning but not the intensity or quality of the programme. More work is needed to ensure that the definition of learning programmes is consistent across various surveys and defined in a manner that is easily understood by survey respondents, ideally with complementary information collected on the amount of time children spend in learning programmes.


The indicator measures children’s exposure to organized learning activities when they are aged one year before the official starting age of primary school.

Quality standards

The indicator should be based on enrolment by single year of age in early learning programmes in all types of education institutions, including public, private and all other institutions that provide organized educational programmes. The UIS maintains the global database used to produce this indicator.

Types of disaggregation

By sex from administrative sources; and by sex, location, and income from household surveys and others as available.