In Africa, many children are still not able to access primary schooling. This panel looks at the reasons why children are left out of the school system through qualitative and quantitative approaches.
Although universal primary education has been on the agenda of most African countries for more than a decade, none has achieved the goal of insuring inclusive and equitable quality education for all as espoused in SDG4. In spite of increasing competition for education, many children are still not accessing primary education. The intensity of this phenomenon varies between and within countries. Some children still grow up without ever going to school while more children drop out before the end of the primary cycle. The primary school systems in place are not always up to standard in terms of capacity and quality, but other explanations for this observation lie in specific individual/community characteristics and family situations. What do we know about out-of-school children? Why are some children never sent to school? Why do others drop out of primary school prematurely? Quantitative data provides valuable information on schools and out of school children, but indicators drawn from different sources do not always give the same picture. Qualitative approaches point to specific processes side-lining children. This panel will look at the variations in indicators and predictors of school attendance and dropout as well as specific contexts in which children left out of the school system live. Quantitative and qualitative approaches are appropriate to trigger a discussion on the reasons as to why school attendance, retention and completion rates are low.