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Article

Is free pre-primary education associated with increased primary school completion? A global study

International Journal of Child Care and Education Policy. 2018. Vol. 12. No. 13. P. 1-19.
Earle A., Milovantseva N., Heymann J.

Global enrollment in primary education has increased significantly particularly since it became a target of the UN’s “Education for All” initiative and one of the Millennium Development Goals.  However, there remain substantial inequalities in who completes primary school. Evidence from studies of individual programs in a range of countries suggests that attendance in pre-primary education can improve achievement in primary school and therefore, we hypothesize, potentially raise primary completion rates.  Using a database of quantitative, globally comparable measures of national provision of free pre-primary education we created and data from UNESCO’s Institute for Education Statistics, we conducted multivariate quantile regression analyses and find that provision of free and/or compulsory pre-primary education is associated with nearly 10% higher primary school graduation rates for countries at the median and 12% higher rates for countries at the 25% percentile of the primary school graduation rate distribution which are primarily low- and lower-middle-income countries.