Population and sex ratio of school completion


Persons who are currently at school or have left school were asked to specify their educational attainment, i.e. the highest grade completed in the educational system. Respondents indicated if they had completed primary school, lower or higher secondary school. All persons responding “never been to school” were categorised as “no level completed”.

According to official statistics, 15.5% (14.6% female; 16.3% male ) of the population aged 6 and above have completed primary education, 6.1% (5.4% female; 6.9% male) have completed lower secondary education, and 5.1% (4.1% female; 6.2% male) have completed upper secondary education.
These figures are illustrated in the  four maps with the two upper maps showing the percentage of the village population completing primary school (on the left) and the percentage of population completing lower secondary school (on the  right). The two lower maps present the corresponding sex ratios as the number of males per one hundred females.

What strikes the reader at first glance is the dramatic decrease of completion rates from primary to lower secondary schools. Green colours dominate the map of the population having completed primary school. Much of the country shows rates between 15 and 45%. The absence of green colours on the right-hand side map indicates that only in a very few villages - including those in urban areas – has more than a quarter of the population completed primary school. In general the spatial patterns are similar to those presented in the literacy Map D.1. Higher rates can be seen in urban centres and the lowlands along the Mekong and the major axes of transportation, whereas the remote rural areas in the uplands have lower completion rates. It is even more interesting that some districts show significantly higher rates than their neighbours for example in Xayaboury, in the west of Saravane, in Sekong and in the north of the province of Luangprabang. Thus it would appear that district authorities have an influence on the quality of education.

When we look at the sex ratio of the population having completed primary education, it is striking that high primary education completion rates usually correlate with a relatively high representation of girls. This is less apparent in the case of the sex ratios in lower secondary education. Here there is a much greater representation of males even in the areas where the general completion rate is above average. These insights correlate closely with the information on the sex ratio of the economically active population (Maps G.1 and G.2). The percentage of the economically active and employed girls and women is significantly higher among those girls and women who have no education. Conversely, girls and women are much less involved in economic activities if they have completed higher education. In other words, more girls than boys must go to work early at the expense of their education.

In conclusion the completion rates for primary education and even more so for secondary education are still very low when compared to literacy rates, and girls are significantly disadvantaged. This map therefore illustrates the still considerable constraints on a future development relying on a skilled labour force.




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