Target 4.1: Primary and secondary education
By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes
CREDIT: Save the Children. Teacher and schoolchildren outside of their school centre in Honduras.
Children born between 2010 and 2014 may be considered the SDG generation. The oldest reached age 5 in 2015 and, in many countries, were expected to be in pre-primary education in 2015/16 — the start of the SDG period (2015–2030). The youngest will turn 16 in 2030, potentially the latest age for timely lower secondary completion. For the SDG generation to achieve universal secondary completion by 2030, the current cohort needs to enter primary school on time. The global adjusted net intake rate into the first primary grade was 86% in 2017.
Some 64 million children of primary school age, or 9%, were out of school in 2017, as were 61 million adolescents of lower secondary school age (16%) and 138 million youth of upper secondary school age (36%). The primary rate is almost unchanged since 2008. Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for a growing share, except for primary school age; conflict has led to children leaving school in other regions, especially in Western Asia (Figure 7).
The Progress in International Reading Literacy Study, a survey assessing grade 4 students every five years, provides the main new cross-national survey data for the global indicator on learning outcomes. In the Islamic Republic of Iran, the percentage meeting the low benchmark increased from 56% in 2001 to 65% in 2016, i.e. by less than one percentage point per year. Some countries, including Morocco and Oman, improved at a rate bringing them within reach of the target by 2030; in others, e.g. Azerbaijan, Saudi Arabia and South Africa, the share of students achieving minimum proficiency did not increase, implying it will be very hard to meet the target.
A NEW COMPLETION RATE ESTIMATE FOR THE EDUCATION 2030 AGENDA
According to 2013–2017 household survey data, completion rates were 85% for primary, 73% for lower secondary and 49% for upper secondary education. However, there is a time lag for household survey and census data, and multiple sources may provide conflicting information.
Following the example of the health monitoring community, the GEM Report team developed a model to estimate completion rates. Projecting older cohorts’ completion rates backwards can provide a long-term view of the rates’ expansion path in a country. The current level of the indicator can be estimated with a short-term extrapolation from the most recent data. The approach reconciles overall patterns and trends across all data sources rather than taking the latest available estimate at face value.