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Out of School Children: Data Challenges in Measuring Access to Education

June 2013 — Large-scale estimates of out of school children are often taken at face value, without sensitivity to the extent of missing and incomplete information for a large number of countries, which affects the precision of regional and global aggregates. In addition, grey areas surrounding the definitions of primary school, non-formal education, and the target populations contribute to inconsistencies in cross-national measurement of the number of out of school children. This technical report by FHI 360’s Education Policy and Data Center (EPDC) untangles the global metrics of school exclusion and points to the gaps and discrepancies in data that cause a substantial amount of uncertainty around the published regional and global estimates of out of school children. Recognizing the ongoing effort by the Global Initiative on Out-of-School Children in 26 countries, this EPDC report offers recommendations for improving clarity, consistency, and transparency around the measurement of school exclusion and the limits of existing data.