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Global trends in secondary education

Nov 01, 2011

Global education digest 2011 report published by UNESCO Institute of Statistics reveals that girls face the greatest barriers in attaining secondary education as the gender gap widens across the globe.

Global education digest 2011

Published by: UNESCO Institute of Statistics

The 2011 Global Education Digest studies trends in secondary education, which is the next great challenge for many countries those are approaching towards universal primary education.

Globally, the number of children enrolled at the secondary level has tripled since 1970. Yet despite this progress, access remains limited in many countries, finds out the report.

This report presents the different factors shaping the supply and demand for secondary education. Population data and enrolment ratios are compared over time to better evaluate government efforts to increase access.

It offers a wide range of education indicators and data for the school year ending in 2009 or the latest available year. In addition, it includes data from the World Education Indicators (WEI)  programme and the UNESCO/OECD/Eurostat (UOE) data collection, which can be used to benchmark the performance of national education systems in 62 countries.

Key findings

Among 162 countries with recent data, girls and boys have equal chances of graduating from primary school in 91 countries. While girls are less likely than boys to complete primary education in 47 countries, boys are less likely to complete it than girls in 24 countries.

Upper secondary education is not compulsory in most developing countries. The GERs of upper secondary education in the Arab States (48%), South and West Asia (44%) and sub-Saharan Africa (27%) were far below the world average of 56% in 2009.

In particular, the number of secondary school teachers has risen by 50% since 1990, yet shortages persist. To help bridge these gaps, the report examines the composition, qualifications and salaries of teaching workforces before turning to the financial resources devoted to secondary education.

Total number of secondary teachers grew by 50%, from 20.3 million to 30.4million between 1990 and 2009. During the same period, the number of primary teachers increased by 27%, from 22.2 million to 28.3 million. Globally, there have been more teachers working in secondary education than at the primary level since 2002.

More equitable access to secondary education is another important challenge. Between 1999 and 2009, the GER for girls increased from 69% to 79% in lower secondary and from 43% to 55% in upper secondary education worldwide. However, the Arab States and sub-Saharan Africa still faced serious gender disparities at the lower secondary level, while disparities at the upper secondary level intensified in South and West Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

While 95% of primary school graduates continue their education at the lower secondary level in most countries in Central and Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and North America and Western Europe, the transition rate from primary to secondary education remains low in many countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

Source : UNESCO
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