Statistical Yearbook for Asia and the Pacific 2011
 
People - Education
Participation in education
Data sources: UNESCO Institute for Statistics.

In the last decade most Asian and Pacific countries have made substantial progress in bringing children into school. However, more than 26 million1 children of primary school age in Asia and the Pacific were not in school in 2008. Although the Asia-Pacific has seen substantial gains in secondary education, in 2008 only 6 out of 10 secondary-school aged children were enrolled in secondary education.

Millennium Development Goal 2 (MDG-2) specifies leaving no child out of primary school by 2015 and Millennium Development Goal 3 (MDG-3) aims to eliminate gender disparities at all levels of education by 2015. The UNESCO-led Education for All (EFA) initiative has reinforced those goals with a programme of action in the same time frame. Since EFA was launched in 1990, almost all Asian and Pacific countries have made substantial progress in bringing children into school.

Primary enrolment

Between 2000 and 2005, the Asia-Pacific experienced an increase in net enrolment rate (NER) from 86% to 89%, but since 2005 the rate of increase has slowed (NER increased from 89% in 2005 to 91% in 2008). The remaining 5% to 10% of the primary-school-aged children not in school are often the hardest to reach and require targeted and innovative efforts. The Asia- Pacific NER is slightly lower than that of Latin America and the Caribbean, at 94% in 2008, but significantly higher than of Africa at 77%.

Within various country groupings in Asia and the Pacific, the highest primary NERs in 2008 are found in East and North-East Asia (based on 2005 data); South-East Asia; and North and Central Asia, where NERs exceeded 90%. In general, LLDCs and LDCs have low primary enrolment rates (NER average of 74% for LLDCs and 81% for LDCs). Note that LDCs registered a substantial increase, from 68% in 1991 to 81% in 2008.

For the 29 countries in Asia and the Pacific for which 2008 data are available, the NER ranged from 66% to 100%, reflecting very different levels of participation across countries. Overall, 17 countries had primary NERs of more than 90%.

Figure I.34 – Net enrolment rate in primary education, Asia and the Pacific, 2000 and 2008

Figure I.34 – Net enrolment rate in primary education, Asia and the Pacific, 2000 and 2008

Secondary enrolment

As the number of primary school completers increases, many countries focus attention on expanding secondary education. In South-East Asia, for example, the primary NER stayed relatively the same between 1991 and 2008, around 94%, but the secondary NER increased by 12 percentage points, from 2000 to 2008 (51% to 63%). In Asia and the Pacific between 2000 and 2007, secondary school enrolment rose from 51% to 59%.

Although the Asia-Pacific has seen substantial gains in education, 9 out of 10 children of primary-school age were enrolled in primary school in 2008, while only 6 out of 10 children of secondary-school age were enrolled in secondary education.

Differences between countries are greater at the secondary level than at primary. In 2008, secondary NERs ranged from a low of 27% in Afghanistan (2007), followed by 33% in Pakistan to a high of 98% in Japan. Of the 29 countries where data were available, 8 countries (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Solomon Islands in 2007; and Bhutan, Myanmar and Pakistan in 2008) enrolled less than half of their secondary-school-age children. Overall, the chances of receiving secondary education are far greater in richer countries. In 2008, the average secondary NER was only 43% in low-income countries, compared to the 94% average in highincome countries.

Such differences exist despite the noticeable improvements achieved in some countries. Azerbaijan, Cambodia (2007), Bhutan, Indonesia and Maldives (2007) recorded an increase of over 15 percentage points in their secondary NERs between 2000 and 2008. Among them, Bhutan and Cambodia more than doubled their participation rates over the period.

Figure I.35 – Net enrolment rate in secondary education, Asia and the Pacific, 2000 and 2008

Figure I.35 – Net enrolment rate in secondary education, Asia and the Pacific, 2000 and 2008

Tertiary education

Growing numbers of young people in Asia and the Pacific are benefiting from tertiary education. In this chapter, participation in tertiary education is measured by the gross enrolment ratio (GER) – the number of students enrolled in tertiary education, regardless of age, as a percentage of the five-year age group in the national population following the secondary-school leaving age.

Between 2000 and 2008, the average tertiary GER in Asia and the Pacific increased from 14% to 22%. Among the subregions, the highest GERs were in North and Central Asia at 56%, followed by 54% in the Pacific. Compared with secondary education, the chances of receiving tertiary education depend even more on national income level. Among the high-income economies, the GER was 71%, compared with 10% for the low-income group.

Among the 27 countries with 2008 data, 6 had tertiary GERs of 15% or less: Azerbaijan, Bhutan, Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Pakistan and Uzbekistan – almost all of them low-income countries. On the other hand, the Republic of Korea (98%), New Zealand (79%), Australia (77%) and the Russian Federation (77%) had the highest GERs.

Gender equality

MDG-3 and the EFA initiative both seek eradication of gender disparities at all levels of education by 2015. To assess gender differences, the gender parity index (GPI) is commonly used. It is the combined value of an indicator for females divided by that for males. A GPI value of less than one indicates that males have a relatively greater advantage, while a GPI greater than one indicates that females are relatively advantaged. Parity is usually considered to have been achieved when the GPI lies between 0.97 and 1.03.

Most Asian and Pacific countries have achieved gender parity at primary school level, showing a regional GPI average for primary NER of 0.98 in 2008. Of the 26 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, for which recent data are available (2007 to 2009), more than three quarters had gender parity with respect to primary NER. Six countries (Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Pakistan, and Tajikistan) still show disparities between sexes, in favour of boys (with GPI at or below 0.97). In Pakistan, only 8 girls of primary-school age are enrolled in primary school for every 10 boys of the same age.

At the secondary level, the regional average is far from nearing parity with a GPI of 0.79 in 2007. Regional averages, however, mask inequalities among countries, particularly at the secondary level. The GPI for secondary NER ranged from 0.38 in Afghanistan (2007) to 1.19 in the Philippines (2008).

Duration of education by gender

The expected duration of education is a key indicator of educational attainment – the number of years a child of school entrance age is expected to spend in school through university, including years spent in repeating grade levels. In 2008, the number of expected years of schooling in Asia and the Pacific was 11.1 for males and 10.7 for females (indicating that most children do not reach the tertiary level). Among the regions of the world, Asia and the Pacific had the lowest expected duration of education next to Africa. In Latin America and the Caribbean, the values stood at 13.9 years for females and 13.2 years for males. Europe had 16.1 years for females and 15.4 years for males. Africa had 8.4 years for females and 9.7 years for males.

Figure I.36 – Gender parity index for net enrolment rates at primary and secondary levels, Asia and the Pacific, 2008 or latest year available

Figure I.36 – Gender parity index for net enrolment rates at primary and secondary levels, Asia and the Pacific, 2008 or latest year available

The expected duration of education varies considerably in Asia and the Pacific. Children in low-income countries spend an average of just 8.5 years for girls and 9.2 for boys (in 2008) in school, in stark contrast with the average in high-income countries of 16.0 years for girls and 16.6 for boys. Variations were even more marked at country level.

Since 1991, the gap in expected years of schooling between girls and boys has decreased, reflecting improvements in access to education for girls, particularly at the primary level. In East and North-East Asia, the gender pattern was reversed in 2008, with girls staying longer in school. Indeed, girls in that subregion can expect to stay 12.0 years in school while boys can expect 11.6 years, a gap of 0.4 years in favour of girls.

Of the 34 countries where recent data were available (between 2005 and 2008) by sex, girls in 17 of them could expect to spend more time in school than boys. New Zealand and Mongolia had the greatest difference in favour of females. In contrast, females are most disadvantaged in Afghanistan and the Republic of Korea where girls spend 4.5 and 2.1 years less in school than boys, respectively. These two contrasting trends in gender disparities indicate that gender issues in education are relevant for all countries2

Figure I.37 – Expected duration of education, primary to tertiary levels, by gender, Asia and the Pacific, 2008 or latest year available

Figure I.37 – Expected duration of education, primary to tertiary levels, by gender, Asia and the Pacific, 2008 or latest year available

New education indicators

Four new indicators have been recently developed by UNESCO to provide increased international comparability and a more complete picture of national education: Adjusted Net Intake Rate (ANIR); Adjusted Net Enrolment Rate (ANER); Adjusted Net Attendance Rate (ANAR); Adjusted Gender Parity Index (Adjusted GPI).

Adjusted net intake rate (ANIR) is an adjusted value of school intake rate which takes into account those students who are of official entry age but are enrolled in grades higher than grade 1. The difference between the total number of children at the entry level age and the ANIR captures children who are not in some form of education. This group might never access primary education or might enter at a later age. The difference between the gross intake rate (GIR) and the ANIR captures the share of late entrants to the first grade of primary. The difference between the NIR and the ANIR reflects the share of early entrants in primary education.

NIR, GIR and adjusted NIR values

NIR, GIR and adjusted NIR values

Adjusted net enrolment rate (ANER) and adjusted net attendance rate (ANAR) adjust for students of primary school age who are enrolled in secondary school. ANER uses administrative data to yield the share of primaryschool- age students enrolled in primary or secondary school, while ANAR uses household survey data to show the proportion of primary-school-age students attending primary or secondary school. ANER and ANAR aim to reduce overestimation of the number of out-of-school children as primary-school-age students who are in secondary school are counted as in school. In contrast, such children are counted as out of school if the traditional NER and NAR are applied.

Adjusted gender parity index (aGPI) presents parity between the sexes symmetrically around the parity value of 1. The regular or unadjusted GPI is measured as the ratio of the value of an indicator for females to the value of the same indicator for males (for example, Case A: male 45%, female 90%, GPI 2.0; Case B: male 70%, female 35%, GPI 0.5). The adjusted GPI is calculated only when the GPI is higher than 1 as 2 minus the value of males divided by the value of females (for example, Case A: male 45%, female 90%, aGPI 1.5; Case B: male 70%, female 35%, aGPI 0.5). Thus the adjusted GPI has the benefit of symmetry around 1.0.

For further detail of the calculation of the new indicators from UNESCO Institute for Statistics, consult the online glossary (www.uis.unesco.org/glossary/index.aspx?lang=en) or annex B of UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Global Education Digest 2010: Comparing Education Statistics Across the World, UIS/SD/10-08 (Montreal, 2010).


1 EFA Global Monitoring Report, 2011, Statistical Table 5 (Central Asia, East Asia and the Pacific and South and West Asia).

2 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Global Education Digest 2010: Comparing Education Statistics Across the World, UIS/SD/10-08 (Montreal, 2010). Data tables available from www.uis.unesco.org/publications/GED2010.

 
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Table I.27 Primary, secondary and tertiary education
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Table I.28 Expected duration of education
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Table I.29 Gender disparity in education
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