01 November 2008

Education disparity trends in South Asia

An article on education disparity in South Asia described a newly developed Education Parity Index (EPI). This index combines data on primary school attendance, secondary school attendance and the survival rate to the last grade of primary school, disaggregated by gender, area of residence and household wealth. The value of the EPI has a theoretical range of 0 to 1, where 1 indicates absolute parity.

Through a combination of survey data from several years it is possible to analyze trends in disparity as measured by the EPI. For the trend analysis, data from the following South Asian household surveys - mainly Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) and Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) - were available.
  • Afghanistan: 2003 MICS
  • Bangladesh: 1999-2000 DHS, 2004 DHS, 2006 DHS
  • India: 1998-99 DHS, 2000 MICS, 2005-06 DHS
  • Nepal: 1996 DHS, 2000 MICS, 2001 DHS, 2006 DHS
  • Pakistan: 2000-01 survey, 2006-07 DHS
The graph below plots the EPI values calculated from each survey. Due to a lack of data, no trends can be shown for Afghanistan.

Education disparity trends in South Asia, 1996-2007
Trend lines with Education Parity Index values between 1996 and 2007
Data source: Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS), Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS), 1996-2007.

In Bangladesh, India and Nepal, the EPI has increased from the earliest to the latest year with data, indicating a decrease in disparity over the period of observation. In Bangladesh, the EPI grew from 0.79 in 2000 to 0.84 in 2006. In India, the EPI was at 0.77 in 1999 and 0.82 in 2006. In Nepal, the EPI shows the biggest increase, from 0.67 in 1996 to 0.83 in 2006, interrupted by a decrease from 2000 to 2001. Compared to the other countries, Nepal has thus made the most progress toward parity in the education system.

For Pakistan, the EPI has decreased from 2000 to 2007, indicating an increase in disparity. However, an inspection of the underlying data reveals that the earlier survey did not provide data on household wealth. Disparities related to wealth are usually greater than disparities related to gender or area of residence. If data on wealth had been available, the EPI for 2000 would most likely have been lower. The data from the 2006-07 DHS confirm this assumption. Children from the poorest quintile have much lower attendance and survival rates than children from the richest quintile, and the disparity between these two groups of children is much greater than the disparity between boys and girls and between children from urban and rural households. For example, the primary school net attendance rate (NAR) in Pakistan is 46 percent among children from the poorest household quintile but twice as high, 93 percent, among children from the richest quintile. In comparison, the primary NAR is 76 percent for boys, 67 percent for girls, 82 percent for urban children, and 67 percent for rural children according to the 2006-07 DHS.

The data gaps in the graph bring to attention one limitation of the EPI. The net enrollment rate and other data published annually by UNESCO in the Global Education Digest or the Education For All Global Monitoring Report are not disaggregated beyond gender and can therefore not be used to calculate the EPI. On the other hand, national household survey data, which permit the required level of disaggregation, are not collected every year but only every four or five years, on average.

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External links
Friedrich Huebler, 1 November 2008 (edited 22 November 2008), Creative Commons License
Permanent URL: http://huebler.blogspot.com/2008/11/south-asia.html

1 comment:

The Avartsy Poverty Foundation said...

I just came across ur blog while researching primary school education in Nigeria and read the article u wrote a while back on it. Thanks for the info...