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About the data



School enrollment data are reported to the United

children of primary age enrolled in preprimary edu-

• Gross enrollment ratio is the ratio of total enroll-

Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organi-

cation) are compiled from administrative data. Large

ment, regardless of age, to the population of the age

zation (UNESCO) Institute for Statistics by national

numbers of children out of school create pressure

group that officially corresponds to the level of educa-

education authorities and statistical offices. Enroll-

to enroll children and provide classrooms, teachers,

tion shown. • Preprimary education (ISCED O) refers

ment indicators help monitor whether a country is on

and educational materials, a task made difficult in

to programs at the initial stage of organized instruc-

track to achieve the Millennium Development Goal of

many countries by limited education budgets. How-

tion, designed primarily to introduce very young chil-

universal primary education by 2015, and whether

ever, getting children into school is a high priority for

dren, usually from age 3, to a school-type environment

an education system has the capacity to meet the

countries and crucial for achieving the Millennium

and to provide a bridge between the home and school.

needs of universal primary education.

Development Goal of universal primary education.

On completing these programs, children continue their

Enrollment indicators are based on annual school

In 2006 the UNESCO Institute for Statistics

education at the primary level. • Primary education

surveys but do not necessarily reflect actual atten-

changed its convention for citing the reference year.

(ISCED 1) refers to programs normally designed to

dance or dropout rates during the year. Also, the

For more information, see About the data for table

give students a sound basic education in reading,

length of primary education differs across coun-


writing, and mathematics along with an elementary

tries and can influence enrollment rates and ratios,

understanding of other subjects such as history,

although the International Standard Classification of

geography, natural science, social science, art, and

Education (ISCED) tries to minimize the difference.

music. Religious instruction may also be featured. It

A shorter duration for primary education tends to

is sometimes called elementary education. • Sec-

increase the ratio; a longer one to decrease it (in

ondary education refers to programs of lower (ISCED

part because older children are more at risk of drop-

2) and upper (ISCED 3) secondary education. Lower

ping out).

secondary education continues the basic programs

Over- or under-age enrollments are frequent, par-

of the primary level, but the teaching is typically more

ticularly when parents prefer children to start school

subject focused, requiring more specialized teachers

at other than the official age. Age at enrollment may

for each subject area. In upper secondary educa-

be inaccurately estimated or misstated, especially

tion, instruction is often organized even more along

in communities where registration of births is not

subject lines, and teachers typically need a higher or

strictly enforced.

more subject-specific qualification. • Tertiary educa-

Population data used to calculate population-

tion refers to a wide range of programs with more

based indicators are drawn from the United Nations

advanced educational content. The first stage of ter-

Population Division. Using a single source for popula-

tiary education (ISECD 5) refers to theoretically based

tion data standardizes definitions, estimations, and

programs intended to provide sufficient qualifications

interpolation methods, ensuring a consistent meth-

to enter advanced research programs or professions

odology across countries and minimizing potential

with high-skill requirements and programs that are

enumeration problems in national censuses.

practical, technical, or occupationally specific. The

Gross enrollment ratios indicate the capacity of

second stage of tertiary education (ISCED 6) refers

each level of the education system, but a high ratio

to programs devoted to advanced study and original

may reflect a substantial number of over-age children

research and leading to the award of an advanced

enrolled in each grade because of repetition or late

research qualification. • Net enrollment rate is the

entry, rather than a successful education system.

ratio of total enrollment of children of official school

The net enrollment rate excludes over- and under-

age to the population of the age group that offi-

age students and more accurately captures the sys-

cially corresponds to the level of education shown.

tem’s coverage and internal efficiency. Differences

• Adjusted net enrollment rate, primary, is the ratio

between the gross enrollment ratio and net enroll-

of total enrollment of children of official school age

ment rate show the incidence of over- and under-age

for primary education who are enrolled in primary or


secondary education to the total primary school-age

The adjusted net enrollment rate in primary educa-

population. • Children out of school are the number

tion captures primary-school-age children who have

of primary-school-age children not enrolled in primary

progressed to secondary education faster than their

or secondary school.

peers and who would not be counted in the traditional net enrollment rate.

Data sources

Data on children out of school (primary-school-

Data on participation in education are from

age children not enrolled in primary or secondary

the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, www.uis.

school—dropouts, children never enrolled, and

2011 World Development Indicators



Participation in education

World Development Indicators 2011 Part 1 of 2  
World Development Indicators 2011 Part 1 of 2  

Looking for accurate, up-to-date data on development issues? 'World Development Indicators' is the World Bank's premier annual compilation o...