This paper explores aspects of exclusion from education and how patterns of participation have been changing using national data sets. The first part of the analysis uses administrative data from countries in Sub Saharan Africa to chart enrolments by grade over the last decade and explore how enrolment has been changing in terms of grade, gender, and age. After establishing key issues that are raised by the data across eight countries the paper develops a detailed case study of changes in participation and performance in Kenya using data from the Kenya National Examinations Council. The study shows that the aspirations of Education for All remain far from being met in many countries and many of those who enrol in Grade 1 fail to complete primary or lower secondary school. Progress has been patchy and it remains the case that over enrolment in the lower Grades is common (with more enrolled than there are children in the relevant age group as a result of over-aged entry and progression), and less than half the age group progressing through lower secondary school.
Gender equity in enrolments is being approached in the eight countries included in the analysis but patterns differ and are contextually located. In all the countries many of those enrolled remain seriously over-age, and urban rural differences persist in enrolment status. The detailed case study of data from Kenya complements the cross national analysis. It shows how uneven growth in participation has been after the announcement of free primary education, and how strongly patterns vary by county. Strikingly it confirms that older children score on average much lower on the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) than younger children, and that this is likely to exclude older candidates from the best secondary schools. This is a source of considerable inequity since over-age status is associated with poverty.DOWNLOAD [2.14 MB]