This indicator measures a government’s commitment to basic education for girls in terms of access, enrollment, and retention. MCC uses this indicator for countries with a GNI per capita below $1,875 only.
Relationship to Growth & Poverty Reduction
Universal basic education is an important determinant of economic growth and poverty reduction. Empirical research consistently shows a strong positive correlation between girls’ primary education and accelerated economic growth, slower population growth, higher wages, increased agricultural yields and labor productivity, and greater returns to schooling as compared to men. 1 A large body of literature also shows that increasing a mother’s schooling has a large effect on her child’s health, schooling, and adult productivity, an effect that is more pronounced in poor households. 2 By one estimate, providing girls one extra year of education beyond the average can boost eventual wages by 10-20 percent. 3 The social benefits of female education are also demonstrated through lower fertility rates, higher immunization rates, decreased child and maternal mortality, reduced transmission of HIV, fewer cases of domestic violence, greater educational achievement by children, and increased female participation in government. 4
The Girls’ Primary Education Completion Rate indicator is measured as the gross intake ratio into the last grade of primary, a proxy for primary completion. This is measured as the total number of female students enrolled in the last grade of primary (regardless of age), minus the number of female students repeating the last grade of primary, divided by the total female population of the standard entrance age of the last grade of primary. The primary completion rate reflects the primary cycle as defined by the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED), ranging from three or four years of primary education (in a very small number of countries) to five or six years (in most countries), to seven years (in a small number of countries). For the countries that changed their primary cycle, the most recent ISCED primary cycle is applied consistently to the whole series. For FY21, MCC will use the most recent UNESCO data since 2014.
This indicator was selected since data limitations preclude adjusting the girls’ primary education completion rate for students who drop out during the final year of primary school. Therefore, UNESCO’s estimates should be taken as an upper-bound estimate of the actual female primary completion rate. Because the numerator may include late entrants and over-age children who have repeated one or more grades of primary school but are now graduating, as well as children who entered school early, it is possible for the primary completion rate to exceed 100 percent.
MCC uses the most recent data point in the past six years (since 2014) 5
MCC draws upon data from UNESCO’s Institute of Statistics as its exclusive source of data for this indicator. Specifically, MCC uses the indicator named “Gross intake ratio to the last grade of primary education, female (%).” To receive an FY21 score, countries must have a UNESCO value in 2014 or later. MCC uses the most recent year available, that is, MCC uses the most recent data from the past six years. If a country does not have UNESCO data at any point from 2014 or later, it does not receive an FY21 score. As better data become available, UNESCO makes backward revisions to its historical data.