06 March 2016

New UIS data on educational attainment and mean years of schooling

How do the world's countries compare in terms of the population's educational attainment? This question can be answered with new data by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS), released in February 2016. The UIS Data Centre lists data for three indicators:

All three indicators are available for the total, male and female population. The first two indicators are presented for the levels of education defined in the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED):

  • Primary education (ISCED 1)
  • Lower secondary education (ISCED 2)
  • Upper secondary education (ISCED 3)
  • Post-secondary non-tertiary education (ISCED 4)
  • Short-cycle tertiary education (ISCED 5)
  • Bachelor's degree or equivalent (ISCED 6)
  • Master's degree or equivalent (ISCED 7)
  • Doctoral degree or equivalent (ISCED 8)

The table on the highest completed level of education in the UIS Data Centre also presents the percentage of the population that has no formal schooling and that has incomplete primary education.

For the first time, the UIS is offering time series with data on educational attainment, covering the years 1995 to 2015. Previously, data on the highest and minimum completed level of education were only available for the most recent year. In total, educational attainment data are available for 147 countries and territories. The number of countries with data for a given year is shown in Figure 1. For example, 74 countries have data for 2010 and one country (Mali) has data for 2015. Portugal has data for 17 years, South Africa has data for 11 years, other countries have data for fewer years. 35 countries have data for only 1 year.

Figure 1: Number of countries with data on educational attainment in UIS Data Centre per year

Data source: UNESCO Institute for Statistics

Estimates of mean years of schooling, i.e. the average number of completed years of education, are derived from data on educational attainment and were first released by the UIS in December 2013. The estimates were updated in March 2015 and then again with the most recent release, in February 2016. The UIS Data Centre now presents mean years of schooling for 149 countries and territories for the period 1970 to 2014. Figure 2 shows the number of countries with data on mean years of schooling per year. 53 countries have data for 2010, more than any other year. The countries with the best coverage are South Africa with data on mean years of schooling for 16 years, Spain with data for 13 years, and Mexico with data for 11 years. 45 countries have data for only 1 year.

Figure 2: Number of countries with data on mean years of schooling in UIS Data Centre per year

Data source: UNESCO Institute for Statistics

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Friedrich Huebler, 6 March 2016, Creative Commons License
Permanent URL: http://huebler.blogspot.com/2016/03/ea.html

28 February 2016

Regional distribution of children in and out of school

In September 2015, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Goal 4 calls for "inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all". The first of the 10 targets within SDG 4 is: "By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes". The SDGs are the successor to the Millennium Development Goals that were adopted by the United Nations in 2000 and called, among other things, for universal primary education by 2015.

Data by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) show that the education MDG has not been met. 124 million children of primary and lower secondary school age were still out of school in 2013, the latest year for which reliable estimates are available. Among children of primary school age, the global out-of-school rate was 9%. Among adolescents of lower secondary school age, the global out-of-school rate was 17%. School ages vary from country to country but on average the official primary school age is 6 to 11 years and the lower secondary school age 12 to 15 years.

The global numbers hide large regional disparities. Figures 1, 2 and 3 show the distribution of the global school-age population in 2013 according to the regional classification used by UNESCO. UNESCO regions are virtually identical to the regions used for monitoring of the Education for All goals.

Figure 1 shows the number of children of primary school age by region. The number of children is plotted against the horizontal axis. For example, 176 million primary-age children lived in South and West Asia in 2013, 158 million in East Asia and the Pacific, and 147 million in sub-Saharan Africa. The global number of children of primary school age was 660 million in 2013. The proportion of children within each region who were in school or out of school is plotted against the vertical axis and the regions are arranged in order of the out-of-school rate. The numbers on the blue and red areas indicate the regional number of children in and out of school. For example, of the 147 million children in sub-Saharan Africa, 20% or 30 million were out of school, a higher percentage than in any other region; 80% or 117 million were in school. The Arab States were the region with the second highest out-of-school rate (12%). The region with the lowest out-of-school rate was Central and Eastern Europe, where 4% or 0.7 million of the 18.6 million children of primary school age were out of school in 2013.

Figure 1: Children of primary school age in and out of school, by region, 2013

Abbreviations: CA Central Asia, CEE Central and Eastern Europe, LAC Latin America and the Caribbean, NAWE North America and Western Europe.
Data source: UNESCO Institute for Statistics

Figure 2 shows the regional distribution of adolescents of lower secondary school age in 2013. Of the 374 million lower-secondary-age adolescents globally, 102.3 million lived in South and West Asia, 91 million in East Asia and the Pacific, and 66 million in sub-Saharan Africa. The global population of lower secondary school age is smaller than the population of primary school age but lower secondary out-of-school rates were much higher in 2013 than primary out-of-school rates. Sub-Saharan Africa was the region with the highest lower secondary out-of-school rate (34%), followed by South and West Asia (26%) and the Arab States (17%). Whereas sub-Saharan Africa had the highest number of primary-age children out of school, South and West Asia was the region with the largest number of out-of-school adolescents of lower secondary age (26 million), followed by sub-Saharan Africa (23 million).

Figure 2: Children of lower secondary school age in and out of school, by region, 2013

Abbreviations: CA Central Asia, CEE Central and Eastern Europe, LAC Latin America and the Caribbean, NAWE North America and Western Europe.
Data source: UNESCO Institute for Statistics

Lastly, Figure 3 shows the regional distribution of the population of primary and lower secondary school age combined. The global school-age population was greater than 1 billion in 2013. Of that number, 241 million lived in South and West Asia, 235 million in East Asia and the Pacific, and 160 million in sub-Saharan Africa. The combined out-of-school rate for children and adolescents of primary and lower secondary school age was 12% at the global level. The regions with the highest out-of-school rates were sub-Saharan Africa (25%), the Arab States (14%), and South and West Asia (13%). The lowest out-of-school rates (4%) were observed in North America and Western Europe, and in Central and Eastern Europe. In absolute terms, the regions with the largest out-of-school populations in 2013 were sub-Saharan Africa (53 million), South and West Asia (37 million), and East Asia and the Pacific (14 million).

Figure 3: Children of primary and lower secondary school age in and out of school, by region, 2013

Abbreviations: CA Central Asia, CEE Central and Eastern Europe, LAC Latin America and the Caribbean, NAWE North America and Western Europe.
Data source: UNESCO Institute for Statistics

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Friedrich Huebler, 28 February 2016, Creative Commons License
Permanent URL: http://huebler.blogspot.com/2016/02/oos.html

20 July 2015

124 million out-of-school children in 2013

New estimates by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) show that approximately 124 million children and adolescents were out of school in 2013. Of this number, 59 million were of primary school age and 65 million were of lower secondary school age. The entrance ages and durations of primary and lower secondary education vary between countries, but primary school age is typically 6-11 years and lower secondary school age is typically 12-15 years.

The estimate for 2013 represents a decrease by 72 million from 2000, when about 196 million children and adolescents were out of school (see Figure 1). Most of this decrease occurred between 2000 and 2007 but since 2007 there has been hardly any progress in reducing the global out-of-school population. In the most recent period there was even a slight increase in the number of out-of-school children and adolescents.

Figure 1: Global number of out-of-school children, 2000-2013

Data source: UNESCO Institute for Statistics

The primary and lower secondary out-of-school rates in 2013 - the percentage of children in these age groups who were not enrolled in primary or secondary education - were 9% and 17%, respectively (see Figure 2). Adolescents of lower secondary school age were thus nearly twice as likely to be out of school as children of primary school age. For the combined population of primary and lower secondary age the out-of-school rate was 12% in 2013.

The trend in the out-of-school rate mirrors the evolution of the number of out-of-school children and adolescents. In 2000, the primary out-of-school rate was 15% and the lower secondary out-of-school rate was 25%. Like the number of out-of-school children, the out-of-school rate fell steadily until 2007 and has remained at nearly the same level since then.

In spite of the lack of progress towards lower out-of-school rates and numbers in recent years, the gap between boys and girls has continued to decrease. At the global level, girls are still more likely to be out of school than boys but the difference between the female and male out-of-school rates fell between 2000 and 2013 from 6 percentage points to 2 percentage points for primary-age children and from 5 percentage points to 1 percentage point for lower-secondary-age adolescents.

Figure 2: Global rate of out-of-school children, 2000-2013

Data source: UNESCO Institute for Statistics

Because of the lag between the collection of national enrollment figures and the release of global out-of-school estimates by the UIS the number of out-of-school children and adolescents in 2015 is not yet known. Nevertheless, it is already clear that the Education for All goal and Millennium Development Goal of universal primary education by 2015 cannot be reached.

A joint fact sheet by the UIS and the Education for All Global Monitoring Report contains more detailed analysis of the most recent out-of-school data and explains that current international aid for primary and secondary education is insufficient, especially for the world's poorest countries.

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Friedrich Huebler, 20 July 2015, Creative Commons License
Permanent URL: http://huebler.blogspot.com/2015/07/oos.html

28 June 2015

Unicode version of programs to integrate Stata and external text editors

I am pleased to announce a new version of the rundo and rundolines programs for integrating Stata with an external text editor. Version 5.0 of rundo and rundolines supports Unicode and is fully compatible with Stata 14, released in April 2015. Support for Unicode was one of the new features of Stata 14. The user guide for the rundo and rundolines programs has also been revised.

With this announcement I am withdrawing version 4.2 of rundo and rundolines, which I had released in April 2015. Version 4.2 could be used with Stata 14 but did not support Unicode. Users of Stata 14 should install rundo or rundolines version 5.0. Users of Stata 13.1 and older versions of Stata should install rundo or rundolines version 4.1 from December 2013. All versions are available on the page dedicated to rundo and rundolines.

Stata/SE 14.0 program window
Stata/SE 14.0 program window

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Friedrich Huebler, 28 June 2015, Creative Commons License
Permanent URL: http://huebler.blogspot.com/2015/06/stata.html

31 May 2015

Mean years of schooling in Nepal

On 25 April 2015, Nepal was struck by a severe earthquake that killed more than 8,800 people. Nepal is one of the world's poorest countries, with a gross national income (GNI) per capita of US$730 in 2013, similar to Afghanistan and Burkina Faso. Of 187 countries on the Human Development Index (HDI) 2014, Nepal was at position 145.

The rank of Nepal on the HDI is partly determined by the low level of education of its population. According to the Human Development Report 2014, the population 25 years and older of Nepal had on average 3.2 years of schooling in 2012.

This article takes a closer look at the level of education of the population of Nepal, based on an analysis of data from a 2011 Demographic and Health Survey (DHS). The DHS collected information on the highest grade of school completed for all household members 3 years and older, which can be used to calculate the years of schooling of individuals and the average years of schooling of the entire population or specific sub-groups. According to the DHS data, the population 25 years and older in Nepal has on average 3.3 years of schooling (Figure 1). The duration of primary education in Nepal is 5 years, which means that the average adult 25 years and older has less than completed primary education.

Urban residents have nearly twice as many years of schooling as rural residents, with 5.7 and 2.9 years respectively. There is a strong correlation between mean years of schooling and household wealth. Persons 25 years and older from the poorest household quintile have only 1.1 years of schooling on average, compared to 6.6 years in the richest quintile.

Figure 1: Mean years of schooling, population 25 years and older, Nepal 2011

Data source: Nepal Demographic and Health Survey, 2011.

Figure 1 also presents data for the development regions and ecological zones of Nepal. The country is administratively divided into five development regions (Far-Western, Mid-Western, Western, Central, and Eastern), 14 administrative zones, and 75 districts. The country is also divided into three ecological zones: Mountain, Hills and Terai. The development regions and ecological zones are shown in Figure 2. The epicenter of the April 2015 earthquake was in the Lamjung district in the Western development region. The capital Kathmandu, which was also severely affected by the earthquake, is in the Central development region.

The population in the Far-Western and Western development regions has 2.6 mean years of schooling, below the national average of 3.3 years. The population of the Western, Central and Eastern development regions is at or slightly above the national average. Residents of the Mountain zone have on average 2.2 years of schooling, while those in the Hill and Terai zone have 3.5 and 3.3 years, respectively.

Gender disparity in educational attainment affects all regions and sub-groups of the population in Figure 1. At the national level, women 25 years and older have only 2.2 years of schooling on average, compared to 4.6 years among men. There is a large gap between the mean years of schooling of men and women in both rural and urban areas of Nepal. Women from the poorest household quintile have only 0.5 mean years of schooling, less than any other group in Figure 1; men in the poorest quintile have 1.9 years of schooling. In the richest quintile, women have on average 6.2 years of schooling, compared to 8.1 years for men. Gender disparity is also present in all development regions and ecological zones.

Figure 2: Development regions, districts, and ecological zones of Nepal

Source: United Nations Nepal Information Platform, retrieved May 2015.

A comparison of different age groups reveals that in spite of the low average years of schooling Nepal has made impressive progress over the past decades. Younger cohorts have without exception more years of schooling than older cohorts (Figure 3). 20- to 24-year-olds have on average 6.9 years of schooling, compared to less than 1 year of schooling among those 65 years and older. In rural areas those 20-24 years old have on average 6.5 years of schooling and those in urban areas 8.5 years. The poorest residents of Nepal are still very much behind those from wealthier segments of the population but even here there has been an improvement among younger generations. 20- to 24-year-olds from the poorest quintile have on average 3.6 years of schooling. In the richest quintile, those aged 20-24 years have 9.6 years of schooling on average, more than any other group in Figure 3.

Figure 3: Mean years of schooling by age group, Nepal 2011

Data source: Nepal Demographic and Health Survey, 2011.

The disparity between women and men in younger cohorts is also far smaller than among older cohorts. Figure 4 shows two indicators of gender disparity. The difference between the mean years of schooling of men and women is plotted against the left vertical axis. Nationwide, 20- to 24-year-old women have on average 1.9 fewer years of schooling than men in the same age group.The biggest absolute gap is observed in the poorest household quintile; here, women 20-24 years have on average 2.8 fewer years of schooling than men. The smallest difference between male and female years of schooling, 0.7 years, is observed among 20- to 24-year-olds in the richest quintile.

A second indicator of gender disparity, female mean years of schooling as a percentage of male mean years of schooling, is plotted against the right vertical axis of Figure 4. At gender parity, this value is around 100%. In all groups in Figure 4, younger women are approaching the average years of schooling of men in the same age group. In Nepal as a whole, 20- to 24-year-old women have on average 76% of the years of schooling of their male peers. In the richest quintile, the youngest women have reached 93% of the years of schooling of men in the same age group. By contrast, young women from the poorest household quintile have only half the years of schooling of young men.

Over time, the increasing educational attainment among younger age groups will be reflected in the mean years of schooling of the entire population 25 years and older. Similarly, the gap between men and women will shrink. However, those in poor households and residents of certain regions - especially the Far-Western and Mid-Western region and the mountain zone - are lagging behind other parts of Nepal.

Figure 4: Gender disparity in mean years of schooling by age group, Nepal 2011

Data source: Nepal Demographic and Health Survey, 2011.

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Friedrich Huebler, 31 May 2015, Creative Commons License
Permanent URL: http://huebler.blogspot.com/2015/05/nepal.html