31 October 2005

Primary school attendance in Nigeria

Nigeria is one of UNICEF's 25 priority countries for girls' education. In the year 2005, the population of Nigeria is estimated to be 130 million, which makes it the most populous country in Africa. 22 million children are 6 to 11 years old, the official primary school age in Nigeria.

The most recent data on school attendance in Nigeria comes from a Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) that was conducted in 2003. 60.1% of all children of primary school age were attending primary school at the time of the survey. Boys had a higher net attendance rate (NAR) than girls, with 63.7% compared to 56.5% for girls.

Primary school net attendance rate, Nigeria 2003
Bar chart with total, male and female primary school net attendance rate in Nigeria, 2003
Data source: Nigeria 2003 DHS.

Children in urban areas had a higher primary NAR (69.5%) than children in rural areas (55.7%). The disparity between children from the richest and poorest households was even greater. In the richest 20% of all households, 82.9% of all children of primary school age attended primary school. In the poorest 20% of all households only two out of five children were in school (primary NAR 40.4%).

A comparison of the male and female NAR reveals that there was no gender disparity in the richest households. In urban areas, the difference between male and female NAR was also relatively small, with a gender gap of just 3.1%. In rural areas and among the poorest 20% of all households, girls were far less likely to attend school than boys; in both cases, the primary NAR of girls was about 9% below that of boys.

Primary school net attendance rate, Nigeria 2003

NAR (%)
Male NAR (%)Female NAR (%)Difference
male- female
female/ male
Richest 20%82.982.982.80.11.00
Poorest 20%40.445.
GPI: gender parity index. - Data source: Nigeria 2003 DHS.

Related articles:
- Secondary school attendance in Nigeria
- Age and level of education in Nigeria
- Household wealth and school attendance in Nigeria

Friedrich Huebler, 31 October 2005 (edited 21 January 2006), Creative Commons License

24 October 2005

UNICEF priority countries for girls' education

Two of the UN Millennium Development Goals address education:
  • Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education
  • Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women
Goal 3 states further that gender disparity in primary and secondary education was to be eliminated preferably by 2005 and at all levels of education no later than 2015. Data on school attendance in 2005 is not yet available but recent estimates make clear that a large gender gap continues to exist in many countries, especially in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.

UNICEF has identified 25 priority countries to reduce the number of girls currently out of school. The 25 countries are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea, India, Malawi, Mali, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Sudan, Tanzania, Turkey, Yemen and Zambia.

UNICEF priority countries for girls' education
Map that highlights the 25 priority countries of UNICEF for progress in girls' education

The countries, highlighted in the map above, were selected if they met the following criteria:
  • female primary school net enrollment rate below 70%,
  • gender gap in primary education above 10%,
  • more than 1 million girls out of school,
  • included in the Education for All Fast Track Initiative of the World Bank,
  • affected by crises like HIV/AIDS and military conflict.
During the past weeks I presented data on primary school attendance, secondary school attendance, educational attainment and primary school completion in India, the largest of the 25 countries listed above. Over the coming weeks I will assess the progress of other countries toward the Millennium Development Goals.

Friedrich Huebler, 24 October 2005, Creative Commons License

18 October 2005

Primary school completion in India, 1950-2000

The share of the Indian population who attended school has increased steadily over the past 50 years. Data on educational attainment in India shows that about 80% of all persons born around 1990 have attended at least primary school. Of the generation born between 1950 and 1970, only about 55% ever attended school.

Not every child who enters primary school completes that level of education. High dropout rates are a particular concern in Sub-Saharan Africa, the region with the lowest school life expectancy values worldwide. In India, on the other hand, most children who enter the first grade stay in primary school until they graduate after five years of education. The graph below compares the percentage of Indians who attended primary school (independent of the number of years) with the percentage who completed primary education between 1950 and 2000. The data, from a 2000 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS), is disaggegrated by sex and area of residence.

Primary school attendance and completion by year of birth, India 1950-2000
Chart with share of population who attended and completed primary education by year of birth, India 1950-2000
Data source: India 2000 MICS.

The population is grouped by year of birth and for each cohort three values are shown:
  • the percentage who attended primary school or higher (blue area)
  • the percentage who completed primary school (green area)
  • the percentage of primary entrants who completed primary school (ratio completed primary/attended primary, red line)
In urban areas, virtually all residents who attend primary school also complete that level of education. In rural India, completion rates are slightly lower but even here children typically stay in school until they graduate. 85% to 90% of primary school students born between 1950 and 1970 went on to graduate. Since 1970, this share has increased to more than 93% for India as a whole and in urban areas this value is as high as 97%. (The gap between primary school attendance and completion rates since 1990 is explained by the fact that children born since then were not old enough to have completed primary school at the time of the survey.)

The education system in India succeeds at keeping children in school. Children currently out of school are therefore likely to complete at least the primary level of education once they take the crucial step of enrolling in the first grade. A disaggregation of primary school attendance rates in India makes clear that many of the children out of school are girls from poor rural households. Educators and policy makers have to focus their efforts on this group of children to reach the Millennium Development Goal of universal primary education.

Related articles
Friedrich Huebler, 18 October 2005 (edited 12 October 2008), Creative Commons License
Permanent URL: http://huebler.blogspot.com/2005/10/primary-school-completion-in-india.html

10 October 2005

Educational attainment in India, 1950-2000

India is well on the way to achieving the Millennium Development Goal of universal primary education by the year 2015. In spite of rapid population growth during the last 50 years, India has managed to expand its education system to reach an ever larger part of the population.

The increase in educational attainment since 1950 can be traced with data from a Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) that was conducted in India in 2000. This nationally representative household survey collected data on the education of all household members aged 5 years or older. The data indicates whether a person attended school, at which level, and for how many years. By grouping all household members by year of birth we can calculate the percentage of a cohort that has attended - but not necessarily completed - a certain level of education. The graph below plots these values for all persons born between 1950 and 2000, disaggregated by sex and area of residence.

Educational attainment by year of birth, India 1950-2000
Chart with educational attainment (primary, secondary or higher) by year of birth, India 1950-2000
Data source: India 2000 MICS.

For each cohort two values are shown:
  • the percentage who attended primary school or higher (blue area)
  • the percentage who attended secondary school or higher (red area)
Until the 1970s, attendance rates for the population as a whole remained stable. About 55% of the population born between 1950 and 1970 attended primary school or higher. For persons born around 1990, this value has increased to roughly 80%.

School attendance rates were historically highest among urban males. Already in the 1950s, 90% of this group attended school at the primary level or higher. In contrast, the most disadvantaged group are women living in rural India. In the 1950s, only 25% of this group attended at least primary school. Women born since the 1970s are much more likely to benefit from education. The percentage of rural women who attended primary school or higher has increased from about 30% in the 1960s to about 70% in the 1990s.

Secondary school attendance rates have increased at a similar pace but at a lower lever. Most children who attend primary school continue their education at the secondary level. In 2000, the primary school net attendance rate in India overall was estimated to be 75% for boys and 69% for girls. The secondary school net attendance rate was estimated to be 54% for boys and 46% for girls. There has been much progress toward gender equality over the last 50 years but women and girls are still disadvantaged in Indian society.

Related articles
Friedrich Huebler, 10 October 2005 (edited 12 October 2008), Creative Commons License
Permanent URL: http://huebler.blogspot.com/2005/10/educational-attainment-in-india-1950.html

03 October 2005

Guide to reading Statalist with Gmail

Statalist is a mailing list for users of the Stata statistical package. To subscribe to Statalist, send an e-mail message to majordomo@hsphsun2.harvard.edu, with the text "subscribe statalist" (without quotes) in the body of the message.

In Gmail all messages are displayed with a variable-width font by default. This can make Statalist messages hard to read if they contain tables that only lign up properly with a fixed-width font. Here is a typical Stata table:
    Variable |       Obs        Mean    Std. Dev.       Min        Max
age | 11258 10.46394 2.277534 7 14
school | 11209 .7712552 .4200433 0 1
In Gmail the same table would be displayed like this:

    Variable |       Obs        Mean    Std. Dev.       Min        Max
         age |     11258    10.46394    2.277534          7         14
      school |     11209    .7712552    .4200433          0          1

Gmail has no setting to change the font but users of the Firefox browser can overcome this limitation by editing the file userContent.css in their Firefox profile. If the file userContent.css does not exist you can create a text file with that name and save it in your profile folder. This and other profile files can also be edited easily with the chromEdit extension for Firefox.

Adding the lines below to userContent.css overrides the Gmail settings for non-HTML mail and all simple text messages are then displayed with a fixed-width font.
div.msg div.mb {
font-family: monospace !important;
font-size: 12px !important;
textarea.tb {
font-family: monospace !important;
font-size: 12px !important;
td.ct {
font-family: monospace !important;
font-size: 12px !important;
The procedure is described in more detail on the site of Michael Gauthier, where I learned about this approach.

Update (22 June 2008)

As of June 2008, the instructions above are obsolete. Google has added a "Fixed width font" option to Gmail. To activate this feature, follow these steps:
  • In Gmail, click on "Settings".
  • In the Settings menu, click on "Labs".
  • Look for the "Fixed width font" option and select "Enable".
  • Click on "Save Changes".
To read a message in fixed width font, open the message, click on the "Reply" drop-down menu in the upper right corner of the message, and select "Show in fixed width font".

Related articles
Friedrich Huebler, 3 October 2005 (edited 22 June 2008), Creative Commons License