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Last update: Mar 2009

UNICEF documents and publications

Adolescents and Education in Africa
Edilberto Loaiza, Division of Policy and Practice, UNICEF, Cynthia B. Lloyd, Population Council, November 2008.
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Abstract: This paper reviews the educational participation, progress and attainment of adolescents in Africa using very current data for 38 countries and age-appropriate developmental markers.  The overwhelming majority of adolescents in Africa are not attending a grade appropriate for their age either because they do not attend school or because they are attending a grade that is behind the grade that is appropriate for their age. With sexual maturation, adolescents face new social challenges in school and are at greater risk than their younger classmates of dropout if they are behind grade for their age.  Thus, the educational circumstances of adolescents are in part determined by a critical decision parents make  on their children’s behalf well before their children become adolescents, and that is the age of first enrolment.


Beyond Gender: Measuring disparity in South Asia using an education parity index
Friedrich Huebler, UNICEF Kathmandu, 2008.
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Abstract: Analysis of disparities in national education systems is often limited to gender although other dimensions of disparity may also be important. This paper presents data on disparity in primary and secondary education by gender, area of residence and household wealth for countries in South Asia. To facilitate the interpretation of complex data an Education parity index (EPI) is introduced. The EPI combines information on disparities across different education indicators and across different groups of disaggregation. The EPI is flexible and can be modified according to national priorities. The use of the EPI as a tool to assess education disparities is illustrated with household survey data from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan.


Child Labour and School Attendance: Evidence from MICS and DHS surveys
Friedrich Huebler, Division of Policy and Practice, UNICEF, September 2008.
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Abstract: Child labour is one of the obstacles on the way to the Millennium Development Goal of universal primary education. This paper presents data on child labour and school attendance from 35 household surveys that cover one quarter of the world’s population. The data were collected with Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) and Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) between 1999 and 2005. Estimates for child labour and school attendance are described at the aggregate level for each country, as well as disaggregated by age, sex, place of residence and household wealth. A series of bivariate probit regressions identifies the determinants of child labour and school attendance at the household level. Children from poor households and from households without a formally educated household head are more likely to be engaged in child labour and less likely to attend school than members of rich households and children living with an educated household head. This finding lends strong support to the hypothesis that poverty is the root cause of child labour. The paper concludes with recommendations for targeted cash transfers as a means to increase school attendance and reduce child labour.

Child Labour, Education and the Principle of Non-discrimination
Elizabeth D. Gibbons, Friedrich Huebler and Edilberto Loaiza, Division of Policy and Planning, UNICEF, November 2005.
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Abstract: UNICEF estimates that out of the 115 million children out of school, 62 million are girls. Many of these children work but traditional indicators of child labour often underestimate the amount of girls’ work because they ignore household chores. The human rights principle of non-discrimination requires that all work by children – whether of a domestic nature or not – be considered equally in the analysis of child labour. This paper presents estimates of child labour in sub-Saharan Africa that include household chores and thus reveal the discrimination against girls. The authors also investigate to what extent participation in child labour leads to lower school attendance and increased repetition and drop-out rates, and whether child labour affects girls and boys differently. The data in the study were collected in MICS and DHS household surveys from 18 African countries. Sixty per cent of children aged 7 to 14 years in the sample are attending school and 38 per cent are engaged in child labour. Twenty per cent of all children are combining school attendance and child labour. A regression analysis shows that household wealth and education of the mother are the most important determinants of school attendance. Children from wealthier households and children of mothers with a formal education are more likely to attend school. In the majority of the countries in the study, boys, urban residents and children not engaged in labour also have an increased probability of school attendance.

Children out of School: Measuring exclusion from primary education
UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) and UNICEF, UIS, Montreal, 2005.
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Abstract: 115 million primary-school-age children are out of school according to a joint UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS)/UNICEF global estimate. This number equals 18 per cent – or almost one in five - of the children worldwide in this age group. Moreover, many of the children who are in school may never complete their primary education or may finish it without attaining even basic literacy skills. These figures are from the report entitled Children out of School: Measuring exclusion from primary education, which presents new estimates and explores the characteristics of children out of school. It provides a single UNESCO/UNICEF source for global and regional estimates of out-of-school children based on an improved methodology and the integration of household survey data. The report uses survey data from 80 countries to explore child and household characteristics and factors associated with schooling status and presents compelling evidence of disparities due to household wealth, place of residence and sex based on survey data, e.g. more than three times as many children from the poorest households are out of school compared to those from the richest households – 38 per cent compared to 12 per cent. This report was prepared by Michael Bruneforth (UIS), Friedrich Huebler (UNICEF) and Edilberto Loaiza (UNICEF).

Progress for Children: A World Fit for Children statistical review
United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), 2007, New York, UNICEF.
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Abstract: Progress for Children: A World Fit for Children Statistical Review reports on how well the world is doing in meeting its commitments for the world’s children. This special edition of Progress for Children analyses progress towards the Millennium Development Goals in four priority areas for children: promoting healthy lives, providing a quality education, combating HIV and AIDS, and protecting against abuse, exploitation and violence.