Indicator 4.2.2: Participation rate in organized learning (one year before the official primary entry age), by sex
Target 4.2: By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and pre-primary education so that they are ready for primary education
Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
This indicator is defined as the percentage of children aged one year younger than the official entry age to primary education who participate in one or more organized learning programmes, including programmes which offer a combination of education and care. Participants in early childhood education and primary education are both included. The age considered will vary by country depending on the official entry age to primary education.
An organized learning programme is one which consists of a coherent set or sequence of educational activities designed with the intention of achieving pre-determined learning outcomes or the accomplishment of a specific set of educational tasks. Early childhood and primary education programmes are examples of organized learning programmes.
Early childhood and primary education are defined in the 2011 revision of the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED 2011). Early childhood education is typically designed with a holistic approach to support children’s early cognitive, physical, social and emotional development and to introduce young children to organized instruction outside the family context. Primary education offers learning and educational activities designed to provide students with fundamental skills in reading, writing and mathematics, and establish a solid foundation for learning and understanding core areas of knowledge and personal development. It focuses on learning at a basic level of complexity with little, if any, specialisation.
The official primary entry age is the age at which children are expected to start primary education according to national legislation or policies. Where more than one age are specified, for example, in different parts of a country, the most common official entry age (i.e. the age at which most children in the country are expected to start primary) is used for the calculation of this indicator.
Rationale and Interpretation:
The indicator measures children’s exposure to organized learning activities in the year prior to the start of primary school as a representation of access to quality early childhood development, care and pre-primary education.
A high value of the indicator shows a high degree of participation in organized learning immediately before the official entrance age to primary education.
This indicator can be calculated using administrative data from schools and other centres of organized learning combined with single year of age population estimates from population censuses and surveys. The data can also be acquired from nationally representative household surveys.
Ministries of Education or National Statistical Offices are typical sources of such data.
This indicator can be calculated by dividing the number of children participating in an organized learning programme who are one year younger than the official entry age to primary education by the population of the same age group and multiplying the result by 100.
The participation rate, of the age group a-1, is calculated as follows:
is the number of children participating in early childhood or primary education (ISCED levels 0 or 1) who are aged one year below the official entry age a to primary education in reference year t
is the population who are one year younger than the official entry age a to primary education in reference year t
Comments and limitations:
Participation in learning programmes in the early years is not full time for many children, meaning that exposure to learning environments outside of the home will vary in intensity. The indicator measures the percentage of children who are exposed to organized learning but not the intensity or quality of the programme. More work is needed to ensure that the definition of learning programmes is consistent across various surveys and defined in a manner that is easily understood by survey respondents, ideally with complementary information collected on the amount of time children spend in learning programmes.
Nationally-published figures may differ from the international ones because of differences between national education systems and the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED), differences in coverage (i.e. the extent to which different types of education – e.g. private or special education – are included in one rather than the other) and/or between national and the United Nations Population Division population estimates.
Proxy, alternative and additional indicators:
Other indicators which measure participation in organized learning at young ages include net and gross enrolment rates in early childhood, pre-primary and primary education and age specific enrolment rates.
This indicator is required to be disaggregated by sex. It can also be disaggregated by sex, location, income and disability status.
Official SDG Metadata URL
Internationally agreed methodology and guideline URL
UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) (2017). Instruction Manual: Survey of Formal Education. Montreal: UIS. Accessible at: http://uis.unesco.org/sites/default/files/documents/instruction-manual-survey-formal-education-2017-en.pdf
UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) (2016). UIS Questionnaire on Students and Teachers (ISCED 0-4). Montreal: UIS. Accessible at: http://uis.unesco.org/en/uis-questionnaires
UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) (2012a). International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) 2011. Montreal: UIS. Accessible at: http://uis.unesco.org/sites/default/files/documents/international-standard-classification-of-education-isced-2011-en.pdf
UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) (2018). Glossary. Accessible at: http://uis.unesco.org/en/glossary
This document was prepared based on inputs from United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Institute for Statistics (UIS).
For focal point information for this indicator, please visit https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/dataContacts/