Mapping out-of-school adolescents and youths in low- and middle-income countries
Alegana VA., Pezzulo C., Tatem AJ., Omar B., Christensen A.
Education is a human right and a driver of development, but, is still not accessible for a vast number of adolescents and school-age-youths. Out-of-school adolescents and youth rates (SDG 4.3.1) in lower and middle-income countries have been at a virtual halt for almost a decade. Thus, there is an increasing need to understand geographic variation on accessibility and school attendance to aid in reducing inequalities in education. Here, the aim was to estimate physical accessibility and secondary school non-attendance amongst adolescents and school-age youths in Tanzania, Cambodia, and the Dominican Republic. Community cluster survey data were triangulated with the spatial location of secondary schools, non-proprietary geospatial data and fine-scale population maps to estimate accessibility to all levels of secondary school education and the number of out-of-school. School attendance rates for the three countries were derived from nationally representative household survey data, and a Bayesian model-based geostatistical framework was used to estimate school attendance at high resolution. Results show a sub-national variation in accessibility and secondary school attendance rates for the three countries considered. Attendance was associated with distance to the nearest school (R2 > 70%). These findings suggest increasing the number of secondary schools could reduce the long-distance commuted to school in low-income and middle-income countries. Future work could extend these findings to fine-scale optimisation models for school location, intervention planning, and understanding barriers associated with secondary school non-attendance at the household level.