Measuring global education goals: How TIMSS helps
Target 4.2: Early Childhood
participated for at least one year in early childhood education. The country with the highest percentage of fourth-grade students who had attended less than one year of pre-school is Pakistan (68%). In three countries, around one in two had attended less than one year of pre-school: Bosnia and Herzegovina (56%), Azerbaijan (49%) and North Macedonia (45%). In four countries around one in three had attended less than one year of pre-school: the Islamic Republic of Iran (36%), Saudi Arabia (35%), Turkey (34%) and Morocco (33%). Distinct patterns are observed also in other countries: in Malta the majority of Grade 4 students had attended exactly two years of pre-school (54%); in France and Czechia, the majority had attended exactly three years (over 60%); and in Denmark and Norway, the vast majority had attended exactly four years (over 80%).
One of the Education 2030 agenda goals is to ensure that all children have access to quality early childhood development, care and pre-primary education so that they are ready for primary education. TIMSS 2019 continued to demonstrate the positive relationship between early childhood development of skills and higher average achievement 9 . While TIMSS is a primary and lower secondary education assessment, parents of fourth-grade students are asked to report how many years of early childhood education their child had attended (including early childhood and pre-primary) 10 . This question offers useful insights on the distribution of exposure to early childhood education, which complement information available from administrative data, even if it is available with a four-year lag.
In the majority of countries, fourth-grade students
FIGURE 4.2.1: Distribution of early childhood education attendance, by years, fourth-grade students, 2019
1 2 3 4 Years
TIMSS 2019 participating entities reflected in the figure above have been selected by and named according to UNESCO.
Note: * Norway, South Africa and Turkey administered the assessment to fifth-grade students.
9 See the TIMSS 2019 International Results in Mathematics and Science: http://timssandpirls.bc.edu/timss2019/international-results/ 10 For the TIMSS 2019 parent context questionnaires visit: https://timssandpirls.bc.edu/timss2019/
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