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The overall growth of enrolments in primary education during the period is described in Figure 2.2.
Figure 2.2 demonstrates two significant features. The first is the change in enrolments in grade 4. Prior to 1996, no 10-year old students were enrolled in grade 4. This is due to a change in the structure of primary education. Prior to independence, children of 7 years of age began primary education that lasted for a total of 3 years. During 1990 to 1994, this system changed, according to the Education Law, to one where children entered at 6 years of age and continued for 4 years. During this transition period, those who entered the system at 7 years of age completed grades 1 through 3 and then jumped to grade 5 thus missing grade 4. Those who entered the system at the age of 6 years completed each consecutive grade. This has caused the unusually low number of enrolments in grade 4 during this transition period.
The second feature relates to the significant increase in the number of students newly enrolled in grade 1 in 1993. On the one hand, this increase was due to the influx of refugees and internally displaced persons following the Armenian aggression, and on the other hand, it was due to the enrolment of 6 year old children in grade 1 alongside with the 7 year olds in 1993 and 1994. It can be seen that grade 1 enrolments are higher than would be expected for the years 1993 and 1994, for grade 2 in the years 1994 and 1995 and for grade 3 in 1995. By the year 1996, enrolments have returned to what would have been expected given the trends noted during the years 1990 to 1992. Thus, the original goal of achieving universal primary education has been complicated and challenged by the inflow of significant numbers of refugees and internally displaced persons caused by the loss of 20% of the Azerbaijan territory during the Armenian invasion.
The growth of new enrolments to primary education relative to population growth is shown in Figure 2.3. The influx of refugee and internally displaced children to schools during the period 1993 and 1994 is not reflected by accurate 6-year old population figures since these were not possible to collect during this time. During the period 1990 to 1992 average annual growth rate of new entrants to grade 1 was 0.9% while over the same period the population of 6-year old children increased by an annual average of 3.35%. For the period 1996 to 1998, the annual growth rate for new entrants was negative (-0.06%) while the number of 6-year olds increased by an annual average of 1.5%. Of particular interest is the difference between the years 1997 and 1998. Increases in new entrants to primary school in 1997 grew over 1996 by 3.3% while the population of 6-year olds increased by only 2.4%. However, these gains were lost the following year when new entrants fell by 3.3% while the number of 6-year olds increased by only 1%. This decrease is the result of both a declining population growth rate and an increase in the number of 6-year old children not in school. This situation will be further analyzed below.
A similar analysis can be performed separately for males and females. The profile of enrolments for boys is shown in Figure 2.4 and for girls in Figure 2.5. While the two distinctive features mentioned above are reflected in both charts, the way in which they are manifest is different.
The significant increase in male enrolments to grade 1, due to the refugee situation, occurs mainly in the one year 1993 while the increase in female enrolments continues over the two-year period 1993 and 1994. These differences are reflected in other grade enrolments in later years as this one- or two-year bulge works its way through the system. The other difference between the pattern of male and female enrolments can be seen in grade 4 enrolments. Female enrolments in grade 4 begin a gradual increase from 1993 while male enrolments in grade 4 decreased significantly in 1994 but then increased dramatically in 1995 and in 1996.
A comparison of growth of enrolments relative to population growth for male and female students is provided in Figure 2.6. The same constraints that applied to the interpretation of Figure 2.2 also apply to Figure 2.6. Of interest is the finding that the significant gains in new entrants in 1997 (3.3% overall) was due to an increase among boys. The gap between the total number of 6-year old girls and the number of female new entrants to grade 1 is steadily increasing over the period 1996 to 1998. Among boys, the significant increase in new entrants observed in 1997 was not sustained through to 1998.
The number of complete (schools offering all 11 grades) schools has increased over the 1990s and this is shown in Figure 2.7. Over the same time, the number of small schools offering only the first 4 grades has remained essentially the same while the number of schools offering primary and lower secondary education (Grades 1 9) has declined over the 1990s. In fact, schools have been upgraded so that primary schools have added lower secondary and those schools that previously offered only grade 1 to 9 now offer all 11 grades. However, the proportion of schools offering only one shift per day has reduced from 40% in 1990 to 24% in 1998.
Gross Enrolment Ratios
Data are available to compare developments in enrolment trends for rural and urban areas. These data are in the form of gross and net enrolment ratios. The differences in GER between urban and rural areas are shown in Figure 2.8. There are two points of interest in this chart. The first is the distinct increase in the GER for primary education in the second half of the period. The second change can be seen in the differential change of GER in urban and rural areas. In the earlier period of the 1990s (1990 to 1993), the GER of urban students was lower than the GER in rural areas. However, after 1993, this has reversed with the GER of urban areas being higher than that of rural areas. In reality, the change in GER among rural areas during the 8-year period is relatively small compared to the increase in urban areas.
Interpretation of the reversal of GERs in urban and rural areas is complicated by the fact that the overall increase in GERs in the second half of the decade is largely due to the structural change that occurred during 1990 to 1994 when 7 year old students who commenced grade 1 skipped grade 4 to jump from grade 3 to 5 while 6 year olds continued through all sequential grades. Thus, the GERs calculated for this period are under-estimates of the real participation rates in primary education.
Figure 2.9 describes the changes in GER separately for males and females for the whole country while Figure 2.10 shows the gender differences across urban and rural areas. It can be seen that with the exception of the period when refugees flowed into the system in large numbers, GERs of males and females are almost identical. The differential increase in female GER (over male GER) during the period 1994 to 1995 suggests that a larger number of over-aged females attended primary school, compared to males.
The same general trends as identified above occur for both males and females (see Figure 2.10). Of interest is the slight difference between male and female GER over the period 1996 to 1998. In rural areas, female GER is slightly greater than male GER while in urban areas, male GER is greater than female GER over the same period. During the period when the enrollment age to primary school was changed, trends in female GER were the same in both urban and rural areas with female GER being significantly higher than male GER.
Net Enrolment Ratios
rends in the NER for primary education across the period 1990 to 1998 are shown in Figure 2.11. As was the case with GERs, there has been a change in the relative position of urban and rural areas concerning NER over the decade. Rural NERs were higher than those in urban areas in the first half of the 1990s but this has changed so that NERs in urban and rural areas are essentially identical over the last 4 years. The structural changes that were made to the duration of primary education during 1990 to 1994 complicates a comparison in the level of NER between the first and second halves of the decade. These changes imply that NERs for the period 1990 to 1994 are under-estimates of the real participation rate in primary education. However, from a peak NER of 94% in 1995, the NER has steadily decreased to 89% in 1998.
The NER for primary education is to some extent an under-estimation of participation rate in education given that some 6 and 7-year old children are still enrolled in early childhood education programs. If the number of 6-year old students enrolled in early childhood education programs were added to those attending primary school, the participation rates for 1998 would increase by 2.9% for girls and 3.3% for boys. In addition, the involvement of physically and mentally disabled students at an older age has an impact on this data. Thus, participation rates in basic education are likely to be 92.4% for boys and 92.8% for girls. This is consistent with data concerning Apparent Intake Rates to primary education. For 1998, these rates were 92.1% for boys and 92.6% for girls. However, some children enter at a later age and children must be more than 5 years and 11 months on September 1 to be admitted to primary school. The differences in the enrollment rates of the primary school-age children in primary education has also been influenced by the differences due to the fact that the primary school-age children are counted at the beginning of each calendar year, while the children enrolled in primary schools are counted for the beginning of the school year, that is September 1. Therefore, an estimate of the proportion of out-of-school children is not possible from this data. However, the data do suggest a need for further collection of data in order to quantify the size of the out-of-school population.
Differences in the NERs of male and female students are shown in Figure 2.12. It can be seen that at the beginning of the 1990s, there were no differences between male and females in NER. In the mid 1990s, female NER increased while male NER decreased but in the later part of the 1990s, this difference has decreased to the point that in 1998, male and female NER are essentially the same.
It can be seen from Figure 2.12 that the overall decline in NER over the late 1990s is due to a fall in the proportion of girls attending school. The NER of boys has remained steady at about 90% while that of girls has decreased from a peak of 98% in 1995 to 90% in 1998.
The apparent difference in NERs of girls and boys in 1994 and 1995 is most likely due to the change of the enrollment age in primary schools.
Figure 2.13 describes the NERs of male and female students separately for rural and urban areas. The same general trends that have been discussed above are also evident although the strength of the trends varies across region. The increase in female NER during the mid-1990s is greater in urban areas (1994: 9.4% and 1995: 10%) than in rural areas (1994: 6.9% and 1995: 8.6%). In addition, the decline in female NER from 1997 to 1998 is greater in rural areas (-4.3%) than in urban areas (-1.5%).
The major issue concerns identification of a mechanism to increase NERs for primary education. It is clear that the effects from the Armenian aggression, the subsequent inflow of refugees and internally displaced persons as well as the economic crisis have been major factors in hindering the enrolment of all primary school age children. It is likely that to achieve universal primary education, significant funding and innovative approaches will be required.
An analysis of the internal efficiency of primary education in Azerbaijan is complicated by the un-quantified inflow of refugees and internally displaced persons that resulted from the Armenian aggression. While the inflow of refugee students to the education system began in 1988 following the deportation of the Azerbaijanis from Armenia, the inflow of children from internally displaced families began in the early 1990s following the Armenian aggression. Not surprisingly, the major concern at the time of the Armenian aggression was in resettlement of refugees and internally displaced persons and provision of adequate amounts of food, medicines, etc. and the counting of additional students entering schools was not a high priority. The impact of this situation on the current analysis is significant. A cohort analysis requires the statistical separation of students who belong to the original cohort from those who transfer into the system from elsewhere. Since this is not possible, the interpretation of the meaning of derived indicators is difficult. These inflows have reduced significantly since 1993 and some meaning may be gained by a cohort analysis of later years, particularly 1995 onwards. Furthermore, some additional information can be gained concerning the differential pattern of male and female enrolments in primary education during the years 1994 and 1995. For these reasons, this section provides information derived from the cohort analysis over the period 1993 to 1998.
Promotion rates are shown in Figure 2.14. The policy of promotion during the 4 years of primary education is carried out according to the adopted rule unless a student is performing poorly across all subjects. There are no examinations although teachers carry out continuous assessment throughout the year. Therefore, promotion rates are high although promotion rates from grade 1 are higher than those from grades 2 and 3. Of interest are the low promotion rates from grade 3 to grade 4 during the period 1993 and 1994. This was connected with the application of the Education Law and the interruption to education caused by the military aggression.
Promotion rates for boys and girls are shown in Figure 2.15. It can be seen that the low promotion rates seen in grade 3 during 1994 (see Figure 2.14) are due largely to lower promotion rates among girls rather than for boys. As was discussed earlier, these data are corrupted by inflows of students, however the 1997 promotion rates are perhaps the most reliable. From these data, it can be seen that promotion rates are high and similar for boys and girls at all grade levels.
Repetition rates are shown in Figure 2.16 and are very low due to the policy of automatic progression unless a student is performing poorly across all subject areas. Indeterminate numbers of transfers into and out of the system also contaminate these data, making interpretation difficult.
Repetition rates over the 1990s have been very small. The repetition rate of grade 1 is higher than that of other grades, however this difference is minimal given the already low levels of repetition.
Gender differences in repetition rates are shown in Figure 2.17. The higher repetition rates evident in the mid-1990s are most likely to be an artifact of the inflow of IDPs/refugees rather than differences in repetition.
Dropout rates are shown in Figure 2.18. Dropout rates are used to estimate the number of students who leave school before the end of the formal duration. However, as can be seen from figure 2.18, dropout rates are negative in several instances. In both 1996 and 1997, there was negative dropout from grade 1. This means that in 1998 there were more students in grade 2 than there were in grade 1 the year before and likewise, in 1997, there were more students in grade 2 than there were in grade 1 in 1996. This would suggest that there have been significant external inflows to primary education continuing since 1996.
The relatively high dropout from grade 3 during the two-year period 1993 to 1994 is an artifact of the change of the enrollment age in primary education. In particular, it is due to the skipping of grade 4 (going directly from grade 3 to grade 5) by students who were 7 years of age when they started school.
An examination of dropout rates separately for boys and girls is shown in Figure 2.19. It can be seen that both boys and girls have high dropout rates in the mid-1990s but that the period of this higher dropout lasts longer for boys (1994 through 1996) than for girls (1994 to 1995). The negative values for dropout make other interpretation difficult.
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