In recent years, the GEM Report’s World Inequality Database in Education has brought the magnitude of inequality in education between and within countries to wider attention. Today, we are launching a number of new features on the website in response to Sustainable Development Goal 4.
The online database now allows visitors to order countries by how wide their inequalities in education are for each indicator using the parity index, where the most disadvantaged are compared to the most advantaged, for three characteristics: sex, location and wealth.
It shows that, for example, despite improvement since 2000, significant gender gaps in education remain. In the case of lower secondary completion, the most extreme injustices are still at the expense of females with fewer than 90 females for every 100 males completing lower secondary school in 30 out of 121 countries. In Afghanistan, only 33 females complete lower secondary school for every 100 males.
However, the WIDE site also shows that disparities sometimes move in the opposite direction, leaving boys the furthest behind. In 17 countries, fewer than 90 males for every 100 females completed lower secondary school. In Honduras, only 68 males complete lower secondary school for every 100 females.
Another new function on the website lets visitors see regional and country income group averages at the top of the page of most indicators.
For example, according to the first target of the SDG agenda (4.1), all young people should complete upper secondary school by 2030. But the database shows that more than 50% of young people have not completed upper secondary school in 55 out of 121 countries. Around the world only 43% of young people did so in the period 2008-14, ranging from 23% in sub-Saharan Africa to 86% in Europe and Northern America.
The database has also expanded to include participation and attainment rates from higher income countries. It has included analysis of the main household survey programme in Europe, the European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC), and surveys included in the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS) Cross National Data Center.
In line with the new agenda, two new indicators have been added: out of school youth of upper secondary school age and tertiary completion rate for those aged 25-29 years. More work will be needed in coming years to standardize the reporting of information on tertiary education attendance and completion.
Finally, indicators on learning levels have been re-organized so that results are now being presented by survey. For example, learning assessments record whether students speak the language of the test at home. They show that grade 4 students who did not speak the language of the test at home were at least 10 percentage points less likely than other students to reach the lowest level of proficiency in reading in 20 out of 39 countries that took part in the PIRLS assessment. In Bulgaria, 96% of those who spoke the language of the test at home achieved the minimum level of proficiency in PIRLS in 2011 compared to just 68% among those who did not.
We invite you to explore this unique database, we hope you like its update, and look forward to your feedback.