Statistical Yearbook for Asia and the Pacific 2012
 
   
C. Education and knowledge
 
C.1. Participation in education

Education is not only a fundamental right but also one of the most basic ways people can achieve well-being. It increases lifetime earnings, as well as how much a person can engage with and contribute to society. Bettereducated individuals tend to be healthier and to live longer. A workforce with the right skills is critical to the success of an economy. Investing in education brings individuals and societies enormous benefits socially, environmentally and economically. To realize these benefits, children and adolescents must have access to education, starting with preprimary education.

Almost half of all children in the Asian and Pacific region do not receive preprimary education.

Early childhood, defined as the period from birth to age 8, is a time of remarkable brain growth. Pre-primary programmes that attend to health, nutrition, security and learning, and provide for children’s holistic development are critical for laying the foundation for children’s subsequent learning and development. Opportunities for preprimary education vary widely across Asia and the Pacific. In the countries with recent data, of which there are just under 40, enrolment in preprimary education was less than 50 per cent in about half. Pre-primary enrolment was as low as 9 per cent in Bhutan and Tajikistan. For the rest of the countries, the rate ranged from slightly above 50 per cent, for example 51.3 in the Philippines, 52.7 in Kazakhstan and 54.8 in India, to over 100 per cent in the Cook Islands, Maldives, the Republic of Korea and Thailand.

Enrolment in pre-primary education in Asia and the Pacific has increased significantly over the last 10 years, with the rate doubling or more in many countries in South and South-West Asia. Other countries that experienced the doubling of pre-primary enrolment rates include Cambodia, Indonesia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia and the Philippines. Despite this progress, as many as 50 per cent or more of young children in about half of the countries in the region still do not receive pre-primary education.

Figure C.1-1
Gross enrolment in pre-primary education, Asia and the Pacific, 2000 and 2011

Figure C.1-1 Gross enrolment in pre-primary education, Asia and the Pacific, 2000 and 2011It is important to have pre-primary education as the platform upon which future learning is built, and it is recommend that countries expand and improve the provision of pre-primary education. To this end, significant progress has been made by several countries in the region, including the Islamic Republic of Iran, Kazakhstan, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Mongolia. Although even after a rapid increase, pre-primary education in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic still reached only about 20 per cent of the target population in 2011. In Viet Nam, there has also been rapid and expansive improvement in the provision of pre-primary education, with more than 70 per cent of children enrolled in 2011.

Other countries in the region, however, have not performed as well. For example, enrolment in pre-primary education in Uzbekistan has increased only marginally since 2001, and in Bhutan, Cambodia, Myanmar and Tajikistan, gross enrolment is below 15 per cent. Samoa and Macao, China, are two places where the preprimary enrolment rate declined between 2000 and 2011.

Despite overall high levels of enrolment in the Asian and Pacific region, access to primary school remains unavailable to as many as one out of every four children of primary school age in least developed countries and landlocked developing countries.

Achieving the goal of universal primary education for all1 by 2015 requires 100 per cent of children of primary school age to have access to primary education and to be enrolled. In the Asian and Pacific region, approximately 95 per cent of the targeted population were enrolled in primary school in 2011, which is comparable to levels in Latin America and the Caribbean (95 per cent) and North America (96 per cent), higher than the level in Africa (80 per cent) but lower than that in Europe (98 per cent). Within the Asian and Pacific region, net enrolment rates for primary education ranged from close to 87 per cent in the Pacific to 93 per cent in South and South-West Asia to 98 per cent in East and North-East Asia. Overall, the challenge to provide access to primary schooling seems the greatest in the least developed countries and landlocked developing countries, where the overall net primary enrolment rate is estimated to be 74 per cent. In other words, one out of every four children of primary school age in these countries in the region is not enrolled in primary school.

Figure C.1-2
Net enrolment rates in primary education, selected Asian and Pacific countries and areas, 2000 and 2011
Figure C.1-2 Net enrolment rates in primary education, selected Asian and Pacific countries and areas, 2000 and 2011

The region has made substantial strides in improving access to primary education, raising the net primary enrolment rate from less than 88 per cent in 2000 to almost 95 per cent in 2011. Progress is particularly visible in South and South-West Asia, where the net primary enrolment rate increased from 79 per cent in 2000 to 93 per cent in 2011. In Bhutan and India, net enrolment rates increased from respectively 59 per cent and 83 per cent in 2000 to 89 per cent and 99 per cent in 2011. Other countries in Asia and the Pacific that made notable progress between 2000 and 2011 include Cambodia (92 per cent to 98 per cent), the Islamic Republic of Iran (86 per cent to almost 100 per cent), Kazakhstan (94 per cent to almost 100 per cent), the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (78 per cent to 97 per cent), Mongolia (92 per cent to 99 per cent) and Pakistan (58 per cent to 72 per cent).

 
Note: Data for 2000 include observations of 1999 and 2001 when data for 2000 are missing. Data for 2011 include observations of 2010 when data for 2011 are missing.

Box C.1-1
Out-of-school children

Progress in reducing the number of out-of-school children

The number of children of primary school age worldwide who are not in school has remained at about 61 million over the last three years. This stagnation is largely due to trends in sub-Saharan Africa, where the number of primary school age children who were out of school increased from 29 million in 2008 to 31 million in 2010 due to the population increasing faster than the primary school enrolment rate.

In recent decades, the number of out-of-school children in the Asian and Pacific region has decreased from over 51 million to about 20 million. The most significant progress occurred in South and West Asia,a where the number of out-of-school children fell by two thirds, from 39 million in 1990 to 13 million in 2010.

Pakistan has the largest number of out-of-school children (5.4 million in 2011, of which more than 60 per cent were female) followed by India (1.7 million in 2010, of which more than half were female).

Have these children ever been to school? What are their chances of enrolling in the future?

Of the children in the Asian and Pacific region who are currently out of school, about half will never enter school, more than one fifth are likely to enter school in the future, and one third have left school early.

Gender, geography and socioeconomic status: Which children are out of school?

An analysis of countries around the world (for which data are available) shows that:

  • Girls are more likely than boys to be out of school
  • Rural children are twice as likely as urban children to be out of school
  • Children from the poorest quintile (of household wealth) are four times more likely to be out of school than children from the richest quintile.

Whom to target, where to target and how to target: Designing effective policies to deliver education for all requires information and data on out-of-school children

The problem of out-of-school children can be addressed with broader policies to address social exclusion and marginalization. In 2009, UNICEF and the UNESCO Institute for Statistics launched a global initiative on outof- school children to accomplish the following:

(a)

To improve information and the statistical analysis of data on out-of-school children and develop complex profiles of these children that reflect the multiple deprivations and disparities they face in relation to education;

(b)

To analyse existing interventions related to enhanced school participation, identify bottlenecks, and develop context-appropriate policies and strategies for increasing the enrolment and attendance of excluded and marginalized children.

This initiative is designed to support countries worldwide in providing all children with not only access to primary education but also the support they need to stay in school and to learn.

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a In this case, the subregion of South and West Asia comprises Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
For every 10 children of eligible age in Asia and the Pacific, 6 are enrolled in secondary education, compared with fewer than 5 a decade ago.

Enrolment in secondary education has continued to increase in the region in recent years. Between 1999 and 2011, enrolment increased by 14 percentage points to over 60 per cent. In South- East Asia, the increase was even greater, with net enrolment in secondary education reaching 65 per cent in 2011 compared with 48 per cent in 1999.

Although these trends are encouraging, there are large differences in access between countries. For example, Brunei Darussalam, Japan, Kazakhstan, New Zealand and the Republic of Korea report enrolment rates close to or above 90 per cent, while in contrast, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Pakistan, Solomon Islands and Timor- Leste have enrolment rates below 45 per cent.

Regional averages also reflect relatively low rates of enrolment in secondary education overall compared with net enrolment in primary education. Only 6 in every 10 eligible students in the region were enrolled in secondary education in 2010, compared with more than 9 in every 10 primary school-aged students.

Tertiary enrolment rate reached 31 per cent in East and North-East Asia, which led the region in rapid expansion of tertiary education.

Enrolment in tertiary education has increased significantly in the Asian and Pacific region in the last decade, from a gross enrolment rate of 13 per cent in 1999 to over 26 per cent in 2011. This trend appears to be continuing most prominently in East and North-East Asia, where gross enrolment rates increased from 13 per cent in 1999 to over 30 per cent in 2011.

There are large differences in tertiary enrolment rates across countries in the region. For example, 2011 data reveal that, of the countries for which data have been reported, three (Bhutan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan) have gross enrolment rates of less than 10 per cent. By contrast, Australia, New Zealand and the Republic of Korea reported rates of about 80 per cent in 2010.

Figure C.1-3
Gross enrolment in tertiary education, subregional weighted averages, 1999 and 2011

Figure C.1-3 Gross enrolment in tertiary education, subregional weighted averages, 1999 and 2011

Source: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2011: The Hidden Crisis – Armed Conflict and Education (Paris, 2011).

Levels of participation in tertiary education are higher in wealthier countries. For 2011, highincome economies reported gross enrolment rates of about 74 per cent, while rates for uppermiddle- income, lower-middle-income and lowincome economies were 34 per cent, 19 per cent and 15 per cent, respectively.

The increasing numbers of tertiary students in each country reflect growth in both domestic and international students, and the patterns of where students choose to study in the region are changing over time. In general, more students are choosing to study overseas and many of them are choosing to study in countries within the region rather than in traditional destination countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Box C.1-2
Mobility of international students in the Asian and Pacific region

In 2010, almost 3 million tertiary students around the world chose to study in a country other than their own, which is almost double the number from 10 years before. All regions of the world have been sending more students overseas for tertiary study, but the most significant growth has been in the Asian and Pacific region. In 2011, more than half of all international students came from countries in the region (see figure A).

Figure A. Total number of international students by source region, 2000-2011
Figure A. Total number of international students by source region, 2000-2011


In 2011, within the Asian and Pacific region, China sent the greatest number of tertiary students overseas (accounting for 46 per cent of the region’s total), followed by India, the Republic of Korea and Malaysia.

 
Source: UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Date Centre. Available from http://stats.uis.unesco.org/unesco/tableviewer/document.aspx? ReportId=143.

The rapid growth in the number of international students in the region is due to several possible factors. First, gross enrolment in tertiary education has increased faster than the global average over the decade (13 per cent in the region compared with 12 per cent worldwide). Second, some Governments in the region have implemented policies to encourage students to move overseas to study, such as Campus Asia and the ASEAN International Mobility for Students Program.a, b The Global 30 project in Japan seeks to encourage students from other countries to study at Japanese universities, including by offering courses in English and by providing access to scholarships.c Universities in the region have also actively sought to raise their profiles as desirable international destinations to study, including by designing high quality courses that reflect current areas of interest for students.

Figure B. Share of total international students by destination, 2005 and 2010

Australia, China, Japan and Malaysia were the most popular destinations in 2010. The Republic of Korea and Thailand also recorded high growth rates in the enrolment of international students, especially for students from Europe and North America (see figure B)

Note: Data for Austria, Brazil and Malaysia are for 2004, data for China are for 2006, and data for Bangladesh, Canada and the Russian Federation are for 2009.
Source: UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Date Centre. Available from http://stats.uis.unesco.org/unesco/tableviewer/document.aspx? ReportId=143.
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a The ASEAN International Mobility for Students Program promotes student mobility between universities in ASEAN countries. Available from http://74.220.213.127/rihed/programmes/aims/ (accessed 7 May 2013).
b Ka Ho Mok, “Questing for internationalization of universities in East Asia: critical reflections”, paper presented at the International Symposium at Osaka University, Japan, 13 and 14 January, 2006. Available from https://gcn-osaka.jp/project/finalreport/6E/6-4-3e_paper.pdf.
c Other examples include the “211” and “985” projects in China, the “Brain Korea 21” project in the Republic of Korea and the “21st Century Center of Excellence” in Japan. See Akiyoshi Yonezawa, “The internationalization of Japanese higher education: policy debates and realities”, in Higher Education in the Asia-Pacific, Simon Marginson, Sarjit Kaur and Erlenawati Sawir, eds. (Stringer, 2007).
On average, the Asian and Pacific region has achieved gender parity at the primary school level. There are disparities, however, at the secondary and tertiary levels.

The gender parity index (GPI) is used to assess the degree of gender disparities at primary, secondary and tertiary levels in terms of net enrolment ratios. In this context, a GPI value of less than 1 shows that the net enrolment rate for boys is higher than the net enrolment rate for girls, and vice versa for a GPI value of more than 1. A GPI value of between 0.97 and 1.03 is generally considered to reflect gender parity.

Figure C.1-4
Gender parity index for enrolment in primary, secondary and tertiary education, Asia and the Pacific, 2010 or 2011

Figure C.1-4 Gender parity index for enrolment in primary, secondary and tertiary education, Asia and the Pacific, 2010 or 2011

In 2011, almost all countries in the region for which primary net enrolment data by gender were available reached gender parity except Tajikistan, and most notably, Pakistan.

Gender disparities are larger and more widespread throughout the region for secondary net enrolment. Relatively more boys than girls are enrolled in secondary education in Pakistan, Tajikistan and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, where the GPI value for secondary education is 0.74, 0.89 and 0.91, respectively. The opposite is true in Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Cook Islands, Fiji, Mongolia, Samoa, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Timor-Leste, which have GPI values between 1.06 and 1.18.

At the tertiary level, gender disparities are reflected in differences between gross enrolment rates by gender, and these differences show that gender disparities are more extreme at the tertiary level, but they are not always in favour of males. At one extreme are countries where the enrolment rates for females are far lower than those for males, resulting in GPI values far below the parity level of 1. These countries include Tajikistan (0.52), Cambodia (0.62), Bhutan (0.68) and Bangladesh (0.70). At the other extreme are countries where the enrolment rates for females far exceed those for males, resulting in GPI values that are much higher than the parity level of 1. These countries include Sri Lanka (1.83), Brunei Darussalam (1.69), Mongolia (1.49) and Kazakhstan (1.44).

Note: Net enrolment rates are used to calculate the gender parity index for primary and secondary education. Gross enrolment rates are used for tertiary education.
The expected duration of education in Asia and the Pacific has been increasing, although children and youth have very different schooling opportunities across countries.

In 2000, a typical girl at the age of starting primary school in the region could expect to have a total of less than 9 years of schooling by the time she reached the age of completing tertiary education. By 2011, this number had increased to over 11. The increase for a typical boy was from less than 10 years to almost 12 years. Mongolia had one of the largest increases, where the expected duration of education for girls increased from about 10 years in 2001 to over 15 years in 2011 and from less than 9 to almost 14 for boys. Other countries in the region have also experienced significant increases in the expected duration of education, including Cambodia, Indonesia, Kazakhstan and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic. In Indonesia, males and females receive almost the same number of years of schooling, while in Mongolia and Kazakhstan females are expected to receive on average 1.3 and 0.7 years more than boys, respectively. In Cambodia and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, males receive about 1 year more education than females, although this disparity has decreased from about 1.5 years’ difference in 2001.

Figure C.1-5
Expected duration of education from primary to tertiary, Asia and the Pacific, 2010 or 2011

Figure C.1-5 Expected duration of education from primary to tertiary, Asia and the Pacific, 2010 or 2011Despite significant improvement in some countries, there is still a gap between the countries providing the longest duration of education. For instance, males and females in Australia and New Zealand could expect to receive at least 19 years of schooling in 2010. In contrast their counterparts in Pakistan and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic could expect to have no more than 11 years as recently as in 2011.

Further reading

UNESCO. Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2012: Youth and Skills – Putting Education to Work. Paris, 2012. Available from www.unesco.org/new/en/education/themes/leading-theinternational- agenda/efareport/.

________. From Access to Equality: Empowering Girls and Women through Literacy and Secondary Education. Paris, 2012. Available from www.uis.unesco.org/Library/Pages/DocumentMorePage. aspx?docIdValue=687&docIdFld=ID.

UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Global Education Digest 2012: Opportunities Lost – The Impact of Grade Repetition and Early School Leaving. Montreal, Canada, 2012. Available from www.uis. unesco.org/Library/Pages/DocumentMorePage.aspx?
docIdValue=718&docIdFld=ID
.

________. “Schooling for millions of children jeopardized by reductions in aid”. UIS Fact Sheet, No. 25 (June 2013). Available from www.uis.unesco.org/Library/Pages/DocumentMorePage. aspx?docIdValue=728&docIdFld=ID.

UNESCO Institute for Statistics and Centre for Universal Education at the Brookings Institution. Toward Universal Learning: What Every Child Should Learn. 2013. Available from www.uis. unesco.org/Education/Documents/lmtf-rpt1-toward-univrsl-learning.pdf.

Technical notes
Gross enrolment in pre-primary education (percentage of the population in the relevant official age group)
Total number of children enrolled in early childhood care and education programmes, regardless of age, expressed as a percentage of the population in the relevant official age group.

Net enrolment in primary and secondary education (percentage of primary or secondary school age children)
Enrolment of the official age group for primary or secondary education expressed as a percentage of primary or secondary school age population. Aggregate calculations: UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS).

Gross enrolment in tertiary education (percentage of tertiary school age population)
Total enrolment in tertiary education, regardless of age, expressed as a percentage of the eligible official school age population corresponding to tertiary education in a given school year. For the tertiary level, the population used is the five age cohorts immediately following the official secondary school graduation age. Aggregate calculations: UIS.

GPI: net primary enrolment, net secondary enrolment and gross tertiary enrolment (female-to-male ratio)
The ratio of female-to-male enrolment ratios for each level of education. Aggregate calculations: UIS.

Expected duration of education, primary to tertiary, female and male (years)
The number of years a 4-year-old girl or boy can be expected to spend in education from the primary to the tertiary level, including years spent in repetition. Data are disaggregated by sex. Aggregate calculations: UIS.

Sources

Source of participation in education data (except gross enrolment in pre-primary education): UIS. Collected from school registers, school surveys or censuses for data on enrolment by age or level of education, population censuses or estimates for school age population. Data obtained: May and June 2013.

Source of gross enrolment in pre-primary education data: UIS Data Centre. Collected from school registers, school surveys or censuses, population censuses or estimates for school age population. Data obtained: 12 July 2013.

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1 The goal of universal primary education is to ensure that, by 2015, all children, particularly girls, children in difficult circumstances and those belonging to ethnic minorities, have access to and complete free and compulsory primary education of good quality.
 
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