Data

Share of children in primary school age who are in school

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What you should know about this indicator

Net enrollment rate for primary school is calculated by dividing the number of students of official school age enrolled in primary education by the population of the age group which officially corresponds to primary education, and multiplying by 100.

Net enrollment rate is the ratio of children of official school age who are enrolled in school to the population of the corresponding official school age. Primary education provides children with basic reading, writing, and mathematics skills along with an elementary understanding of such subjects as history, geography, natural science, social science, art, and music.

Limitations and exceptions: Enrollment indicators are based on annual school surveys, but do not necessarily reflect actual attendance or dropout rates during the year. Also, the length of education differs across countries and can influence enrollment rates, although the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) tries to minimize the difference. For example, a shorter duration for primary education tends to increase the rate; a longer one to decrease it (in part because older children are more at risk of dropping out). Moreover, age at enrollment may be inaccurately estimated or misstated, especially in communities where registration of births is not strictly enforced.

Statistical concept and methodology: Net enrollment rate for primary school is calculated by dividing the number of students of official school age enrolled in primary education by the population of the age group which officially corresponds to primary education, and multiplying by 100.

Data on education are collected by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics from official responses to its annual education survey. All the data are mapped to the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) to ensure the comparability of education programs at the international level. The current version was formally adopted by UNESCO Member States in 2011. Population data are drawn from the United Nations Population Division. Using a single source for population data standardizes definitions, estimations, and interpolation methods, ensuring a consistent methodology across countries and minimizing potential enumeration problems in national censuses.

The reference years reflect the school year for which the data are presented. In some countries the school year spans two calendar years (for example, from September 2010 to June 2011); in these cases the reference year refers to the year in which the school year ended (2011 in the example).

Source
Multiple sources compiled by World Bank (2024); Lee and Lee (2016) – with major processing by Our World in Data
Last updated
July 17, 2023
Date range
1820–2019
Unit
%

Sources and processing

This data is based on the following sources

The World Development Indicators (WDI) is the primary World Bank collection of development indicators, compiled from officially-recognized international sources. It presents the most current and accurate global development data available, and includes national, regional and global estimates.

Retrieved on
May 20, 2024
Citation
This is the citation of the original data obtained from the source, prior to any processing or adaptation by Our World in Data. To cite data downloaded from this page, please use the suggested citation given in Reuse This Work below.
World Bank's World Development Indicators (WDI).

Datasets on estimated school enrollment ratios from 1820 to 2010 and estimated educational attainment for the total, female, and male populations from 1870 to 2010. The estimates are available in five-year intervals for 111 countries.

Datasets were last updated in 2021 September. The research provides insightful analysis on the progression and trends of educational attainment over a long historical period, offering a comprehensive understanding of educational developments globally.

Retrieved on
November 20, 2023
Citation
This is the citation of the original data obtained from the source, prior to any processing or adaptation by Our World in Data. To cite data downloaded from this page, please use the suggested citation given in Reuse This Work below.
Lee, Jong-Wha and Hanol Lee, 2016, “Human Capital in the Long Run,” Journal of Development Economics, vol. 122, pp. 147-169.

How we process data at Our World in Data

All data and visualizations on Our World in Data rely on data sourced from one or several original data providers. Preparing this original data involves several processing steps. Depending on the data, this can include standardizing country names and world region definitions, converting units, calculating derived indicators such as per capita measures, as well as adding or adapting metadata such as the name or the description given to an indicator.

At the link below you can find a detailed description of the structure of our data pipeline, including links to all the code used to prepare data across Our World in Data.

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Notes on our processing step for this indicator

Historical data up to the year 1985 has been sourced from 'Human Capital in the Long Run' by Lee and Lee (2016). This historical data was then combined with recent estimates provided by the World Bank.

For the period before 1985, regional aggregates were computed by Our World in Data through yearly population-weighted averages, where annual values are proportionally adjusted to emphasize the influence of larger populations.

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  • All data produced by third-party providers and made available by Our World in Data are subject to the license terms from the original providers. Our work would not be possible without the data providers we rely on, so we ask you to always cite them appropriately (see below). This is crucial to allow data providers to continue doing their work, enhancing, maintaining and updating valuable data.
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Citations

How to cite this page

To cite this page overall, including any descriptions, FAQs or explanations of the data authored by Our World in Data, please use the following citation:

“Data Page: Share of children in primary school age who are in school”, part of the following publication: Hannah Ritchie, Veronika Samborska, Natasha Ahuja, Esteban Ortiz-Ospina and Max Roser (2023) - “Global Education”. Data adapted from UNESCO (via World Bank), Lee and Lee. Retrieved from https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/primary-enrollment-selected-countries [online resource]
How to cite this data

In-line citationIf you have limited space (e.g. in data visualizations), you can use this abbreviated in-line citation:

Multiple sources compiled by World Bank (2024); Lee and Lee (2016) – with major processing by Our World in Data

Full citation

Multiple sources compiled by World Bank (2024); Lee and Lee (2016) – with major processing by Our World in Data. “Share of children in primary school age who are in school” [dataset]. UNESCO (via World Bank), “World Development Indicators”; Lee and Lee, “Human Capital in the Long Run” [original data]. Retrieved July 16, 2024 from https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/primary-enrollment-selected-countries