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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Commonwealth Education Partnerships 2007
Title Education inequalities around the world
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2006
URL http://books.google.ca/books?hl=en&lr;=&id=ID5XqeV4q10C&oi=fnd&pg=PT138&dq=Timor+Leste+Living+Standa​rds+Measurement+Survey+LSMS&ots=cAqe8JUAKc&sig=rvyQBrFvs_SFaXBU4vRz1NTE1pc#v=onepage&q=LSMS&f=false
Measured by the percentage of children who reach the last year of primary school, the primary completion rate, the world has made substantial progress towards reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) of enabling all children to ‘complete a full course of primary schooling’.1 The primary completion rate in low-income countries increased from 66 to 74 per cent between 1991 and 2004, with growth in all of the poorer regions: Latin America and the Caribbean (86 to 97 per cent); Middle East and North Africa (78 to 88 per cent); South Asia (73 to 82 per cent); Sub-Saharan Africa (51 to 62 per cent). But there remain large inequalities in education across and perhaps more importantly, frequently large inequalities within, countries. Documenting inequalities across countries is straightforward. While some countries, including several in Africa, are on track to reach the MDG of universal completion, many others, especially in Africa are severely off track. So while some countries are reaching 100 per cent of children completing primary school, the rate was below 50 per cent in many countries (all Sub Saharan African).3 But country averages mask the fact that within countries a sizeable population of children still fails to complete school: both in countries where progress is being made on average and especially in countries where progress has been slower. By analysing a very large collection of household data sets, the work described here documents patterns in inequalities in educational attainment – especially those associated with household economic status. There are three main findings. First, within country gaps associated with economic status can be truly enormous – as large if not larger than differences across countries. Second, the schooling attainment patterns that give rise to these inequalities vary substantially across countries – suggesting that country specific policies will be the key to addressing shortfalls. Third, inequalities associated with economic status are typically larger than those associated with other commonly cited sources of educational gaps.

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