The DisadvantagedAlthough former communist countries have an admirable record for getting a very high proportion of children into primary school

The DisadvantagedAlthough former communist countries have an admirable record for getting a very high proportion of children into primary school, with net enrolment rates
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for ISCED 1 generallyaround the 90% mark, this still means that a significant percentage of primary school-agechildren are not in school. There is also still a slight gender discrepancy at the primary stage,with boys having the advantage over girls by a small margin; by ISCED 2/3, the difference is practically eliminated or indeed slightly in favour of girls, except in Tajikistan where 45% of allstudents enrolled in ISCED 2/3 are girls compared with 48% in ISCED 1. This is clearly a trendto be watched.Looking at the findings of the surveys conducted for this DO study, the main reason for non-registration, non- or irregular attendance, and drop-out is
poverty.
It has long been acknowledgedthat, in any country, poverty reduces the chances of children’s access to, and survival in,education. In transition countries, the combined effects of social and economic disruption causedenrolment rates to fall and education budgets to shrink. Evidence suggests that both trendsadversely affected the poor. The increasing incidence of
direct charges
, even in compulsory primary education, victimizes the children of the poor – and those without parents – because theycannot afford to pay for books, materials, transport, meals, or even for supplements to teacher salaries or school building maintenance.A 2004 survey
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estimates that of the 44 million children living in former communist countries,14 million live below national poverty lines. Obviously, these children are unlikely to be able to pay even small amounts. As country-by-country data show, “direct charges” are known by avariety of names because in most countries they should not be (but are) charged. These chargescan be prohibitively high, and prevent children from enrolling or force them to work
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drop out
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before they complete compulsory primary school. In Eastern Europe and Central Asia, of 20countries that legally guarantee free compulsory primary education, 13 do in fact charge schoolfees of some kind.The pattern of countries that tolerate “direct charges” shows that these charges themselves are poverty-driven. None of the 34 members of the EU, the European Economic Area, or the OECDreported charges in compulsory primary education, with only two exceptions. Poorer countriesoften find themselves unable to maintain their chronically under-funded school systems withoutcharging formal or informal fees.
Definition of TermsDefinitions of dropout
UNESCO Definition :Dropping out or „early school leaving” is understood as leaving school education withoutcompleting the started cycle or program.Morrow’s Definition :A drop out is any student previously enrolled in a school, who is no longer actively enrolled asindicated by 15 days of consecutive unexcused absences, who has not satisfied local standardsfor graduation, and for whom a formal request has been received signifying enrollment inanother state licensed educational institutions. A student death is not tallied as a dropout.
Hidden dropouts-
children who attend school regularly, but are neglected in the classroom andthen fail
Misreported dropouts
– discrepancy between reported and observed dropouts.

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Statistics – no reliable, comparable and consistent dataMisreporting – “blame culture” or school funding depends on the enrollment