Masthead LogoJournal of Catholic EducationVolume 22 Issue 1Article 275-30-2019More Schools, Larger Schools, or Both? Patterns ofEnrollment Growth in K12 Catholic SchoolsGloballyQuentin WodonWorld Bank and University of Notre Dame, [email protected] this and additional works at: https://digitalcommons.lmu.edu/cePart of the Catholic Studies Commons, Education Economics Commons, and the OtherEducation CommonsRecommended CitationWodon, Q. (2019). More Schools, Larger Schools, or Both? Patterns of Enrollment Growth in K12 Catholic Schools Globally. Journal ofCatholic Education, 22 (1). http://dx.doi.org/10.15365/joce.2201072019This Article is brought to you for free with open access by the School of Education at Digital Commons at Loyola Marymount University and LoyolaLaw School. It has been accepted for publication in Journal of Catholic Education by the journal's editorial board and has been published on the web byan authorized administrator of Digital Commons at Loyola Marymount University and Loyola Law School. For more information about DigitalCommons, please contact [email protected] To contact the editorial board of Journal of Catholic Education, please [email protected]
More Schools, Larger Schools, or Both? Patterns of Enrollment Growth inK12 Catholic Schools GloballyCover Page FootnoteThe author is a Lead Economist with the World Bank and a Distinguished Research Affiliate with the KelloggInstitute at the University of Notre Dame. The analysis and views expressed in this paper are those of theauthor only and may not reflect the views of the World Bank, its Executive Director, or the countries theyrepresent.This article is available in Journal of Catholic Education: https://digitalcommons.lmu.edu/ce/vol22/iss1/27
Patterns of Enrollment Growth135More Schools, Larger Schools, or Both? Patterns of EnrollmentGrowth in K12 Catholic Schools GloballyQuentin WodonWorld Bank and University of Notre DameAfter the governments of China and India, the Catholic Church is probably thethird largest provider of K12 education in the world. How has growth in enrollment in K12 Catholic schools varied across countries over the last two decades?Which countries have accounted for most of the growth at the regional and globallevel? What has been the role of the number of schools and the size of schools inenrollment growth, or in the decline observed in some countries? Given trendstowards higher enrollment in the developing world due to population growth andhigher educational attainment, has enrollment growth in Catholic schools enabledthem to maintain their market share over time? Finally, what do the data suggestfor some of the constraints and strategic choices faced by Catholic schools in variouscountries? The objective of this paper is to answer these questions with a focus ontrends in Catholic school enrollment and market shares across countries from 1995to 2016.KeywordsEnrollment Growth, Preschools, Primary education, Secondary education,Catholic schools, School construction, School sizeEnrollment in K12 Catholic schools is increasing globally. Estimates for2016 suggest that 35 million children were enrolled in Catholic primaryschools, 20 million in secondary schools, and more than seven millionin preschools and nurseries (Secretaria Status, 2018; Wodon, 2019a). Giventhe difficulty of aggregating data from multiple types of Catholic providersof education, including not only dioceses but also religious congregations, theestimates could be on the low side, especially in large and complex countriessuch as India. Overall, after the governments of China and India, the Catholic Church may be the third largest provider of K12 education in the world.Two decades ago, in 1995, the estimates were at 25 million, 13 million, and fivemillion children enrolled in Catholic schools at the primary, secondary, andpreschool/nursery levels, respectively. This implies that on average, the annualJournal of Catholic Education, Vol. 22, No. 1, Spring 2019, 135-153. This article is licensed under aCreative Commons Attribution 3.0 International License. doi: 10.15365/joce.2201072019
136Journal of Catholic Education / Spring 2019growth rate of enrollment in Catholic schools was at 1.9 % for nurseries andpreschools, 1.6 % for primary schools, and 2.0 % for secondary schools over thelast two decades globally.Boosting enrollment should not be the primary goal of school systems. Ifchildren are in school but are not learning, or not learning enough, educationsystems are failing students, as noted by the World Development Report onthe learning crisis in the developing world (World Bank, 2018). Still, growthin enrollment does matter for both the Catholic Church and broader societies. For the Church, the schools may contribute not only to its evangelization mission, but also to the core mission of the Church to serve the poorin priority (Congregation for Catholic Education, 1977, 2017). For societies,a healthy network of Catholic schools provides more options for parents interms of the types of schools that they can choose for their children (on therole of faith-based schools in Africa as an example, see Wodon, 2014, 2015).In terms of learning and overall quality, there are indications that at leaston average, students in Catholic schools perform relatively well, even if theevidence remains disputed on whether this is due to the schools themselvesor other factors such as student characteristics.In the United States for example, multiple studies suggest that there maybe a Catholic school advantage. This literature dates back to at least Colemanet al. (1982), Greely (1982), and Coleman and Hoffer (1987), and subsequentwork by Bryk et al. (1993), Evans and Schwab (1995), Sander (1996), Sanderand Krautman (1995), Neal (1997), Carbonaro (2006), Hallinan and Kubitschek (2013), and Freeman and Berends (2016) among others. As anotherexample, the recent study in this Journal by Fleming et al. (2018) suggestssuch an advantage. Yet there are also studies disputing the presence of aCatholic advantage (see for example Jepsen, 2003, and Elder & Jepsen, 2014).Outside of the United States, the literature is less extensive, but there arestudies suggesting good performance in Catholic schools in specific countriesor types of schools. This is the case for example for Fe y Alegría schools inLatin America (Alcott & Ortega, 2009; Parra-Osorio & Wodon, 2014; Lavado et al., 2016). In addition, Catholic schools provide major savings globallyfor state education budgets due to their lower operating costs and the factthat they are often only partially subsidized when they get any support fromthe state (Wodon, 2019b). Finally, there is emerging evidence that the schoolsmay also contribute to stronger communities (Brinig & Garnett, 2015) andhigher levels of civic participation (Dee, 2005).
Patterns of Enrollment Growth137Enrollment growth in Catholic schools may come from a greater number of schools, a larger number of students in existing schools, or both sincethe growth rate in enrollment is simply the sum of the growth rates for thenumber of schools and for the average size of schools. Similarly, in countrieswhere enrollment is declining, the decline can be attributed to a reductionin the number of schools, a reduction in the size of existing schools, or both.Strategies to boost enrollment or stem declines can thus focus on the numberof schools operated by the Church, the size of those schools, or both.Different strategies for enrollment growth have different implications interms of costs and who schools may be able to reach. Building new schoolscan help in reaching underserved populations, thus possibly contributing tobetter serving the poor. For the Church, this is an important considerationgiven its preferential option for the poor (e.g., Francis, 2015; Heinrich et al.,2008; Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, 2004). When building newschools, different models can be considered, but if the objective is to reachexcluded population in low density rural areas, it may be better to build smallschools. In Uganda for example, an argument can be made that the best strategy to expand secondary education is probably to start with lower secondaryschools and build small schools with four classrooms (one for each gradein lower secondary education) as feeder schools for larger and more distantupper secondary schools for the last two years of secondary education. Smallschools can more easily be located in geographic areas where gross enrollment rates are at their lowest (Wodon, 2019c).Another advantage of relatively small schools in low income counties (atleast when network expansion is being considered to reach those still excluded) is that they may have more nimble facilities, for example in terms of thenumber of laboratories that are included at the secondary level, or whether aseparate library room is needed. By reducing features that may not be essential to the quality of the education provided, construction costs can bereduced. This in turn enables school networks to reach within their budgets alarger number of students currently not served. Whether such strategies arefeasible depends in part of the regulations that school networks must follow for the schools to be registered and accredited. But the point made hereis that it is often feasible to keep costs low by avoiding unnecessary features(see Wodon, 2016, on Paraguay, and Theunynck, 2009, on Africa).As an alternative to building new schools, expanding the capacity ofexisting schools may be an option, and it is often cheaper than building new
138Journal of Catholic Education / Spring 2019schools, not only because of the lower capital investments required, but alsobecause with larger schools the recurrent operating expenditure for schooladministration can be absorbed by a larger number of students given economies of scale. The trade-off is however whether such a strategy makes itfeasible to reach students in remote areas. In addition, for any of these typesof approaches to work to increase enrollment in Catholic schools, there mustbe excess local demand for (Catholic) education in which the schools can tap.What type of strategy should be used in any given country or specificlocality depends on local context. But at the aggregate level, providing a fewstylized facts as well as a brief discussion across countries of what has ledto changes in enrollment in the last two decades, and whether enrollmentgrowth has been sufficient to maintain market share, may be useful. This isthe purpose of this paper. How has growth in enrollment varied across countries over the last two decades? Which countries have accounted for most ofthe growth at the regional and global level? What have been the contributions of the number of schools and the size of schools in enrollment growth?How has this affected the market share of Catholic schools, given trendstowards higher enrollment especially in the developing world due to bothpopulation growth and higher educational attainment over time? The objective of this paper is to answer these questions. Section 2 analyzes the data atthe global and regional level. Section 3 does the same at the level of countriesfor the top 20 countries by enrollment size. A brief conclusion follows.Global and Regional AnalysisEvery year, the Central Statistics Office of the Catholic Church publishesthe Statistical Yearbook of the Church. The latest published edition providesdata for 2016 (Secretaria Status, 2018). Data on a wide range of Church activities are collected. For K12 education, the yearbook provides for each country and some territories the number of the schools managed by the Churchat three levels (nurseries and preschools, primary schools, and secondaryschools), and the number of students enrolled in those schools. This makes itfeasible to also compute the average size of schools in each country.The data are collected through a questionnaire sent to the chancery officesof ecclesiastical jurisdictions worldwide. The data are self-reported and maynot always be fully accurate, especially in contexts where local conditions arenot favorable to data collection. In addition, not all ecclesiastical jurisdictionsare able to fill the questionnaire every year. For the 2016 edition of the statis-
Patterns of Enrollment Growth139tical yearbook, the Church reports that 3,016 out 3,162 jurisdictions were ableto fill the questionnaire. For the 1995 data, which are also used in this article,2,747 jurisdictions filled the questionnaire out of a total of 2,893 jurisdictionsat the time. In both years, the jurisdictions that were not able to provide datatended to be small, so that the missing data should not affect overall resultssubstantially. Overall, while estimates in the yearbooks may not always befully accurate, especially for large and complex developing countries1, the dataappear to be of good quality and reliable for looking at broad trends overtime.The analysis of the roles of the number of schools and average school sizein enrollment growth is based on a simple decomposition. The number ofstudents in Catholic schools, denoted by C, is the product of the number ofCatholic schools, N, times the average school size or number of students perschool, S, so that C N S. As a result, the annual growth rate in enrollmentbetween two points in time, denoted by gC , is equal to the sum of the growthrates for the number of Catholic schools gN and the average size of theschools gS, with gT gN gS. The paper simply documents patterns of enrollment growth for Catholic schools globally, regionally, and at the country levelfor countries with the largest enrollment and discusses some of the potentialimplications of these patterns for future enrollment.Estimations are carried for the period from 1995 to 2016. The year 2016 isthe last year for which data on enrollment in Catholic schools globally areavailable from the Catholic Church’s annual statistical yearbooks (SecretariaStatus, 2018). The start year, 1995, is chosen so that the analysis covers medium-term trends for a period of just above 20 years. Data are also providedfor 2005, the mid-point between the start and end years. For most countries,findings would not be substantially different if a slightly longer or shortertime horizon were chosen for the analysis of trends in enrollment.Table 1 provides estimates of enrollment in Catholic schools for nurseries and preschools, primary schools, and secondary schools globally and forfive regions: Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, and Oceania. Estimates ofthe number of schools are also provided. The average size of the schools isobtained simply by dividing total enrollment by the number of schools. Table2 provides the annual growth rates by ten-year intervals and overall for totalenrollment, the number of schools, and the average school sizes. Estimates1As an example, Manipadam (2018) suggests that at the secondary level, the number of schools and thereby the number of students enrolled in Catholic schools in India maybe underestimated in the statistical yearbooks.
140Journal of Catholic Education / Spring 2019have also been computed by country but are not shown in the Table given thelarge number of countries – some of the country data will be used in the nextsection.The data indicate substantial growth in enrollment over time. The combined enrollment at all three levels (preschool/nursery, primary, and secondary) increased from 43.4 million students in 1995 to 62.5 million in 2016. Thenumber of schools across all three levels increased from 173,292 to 217,261over the same period. Most of the growth in the absolute number of studentstook place in Africa, and specifically in sub-Saharan Africa which is wheredemand for schooling is rising the fastest due to both population growth andrising enrollment rates. The annual growth rates in enrollment for Africa areestimated at 6.0 % for preschools and nurseries, 3.5 % for primary schools,and 6.1 % for secondary schools for the full period. Asia also contributed tosubstantial gains in enrollment, in both absolute terms and in terms of annualgrowth rates. In the Americas, the picture is mixed. While growth in enrollment took place in Latin America, there was a decline in the United States.In Europe as well, there was a decline for preschools/nurseries and primaryschools, but not for secondary schools. In Oceania, there were gains, especially for preschools and nurseries in the first decade between 1995 and 2005.The growth in enrollment at the pre-primary level not only in Oceania butalso in other regions is good news given the importance of investing in earlychildhood development (Denboba et al., 2014).The simple decomposition of total enrollment growth into the contributions of the number of schools and school size suggests that the largest component of growth is attributed to a rising number of schools for preschools/nurseries and secondary schools, but not for primary schools. Specifically, fornurseries/preschools, the annual rate of growth globally is at 1.9 %, with 1.4% attributed to the growth in the number of schools, and 0.5 % to growth inthe size of schools. For secondary education, the annual rate of growth globally over the two decades, at 2.0 %, is also due more to a higher number ofschools (1.7 %) than to an increase in the size of schools (0.3 %). Only in thecase of primary education is the contribution of changes in the size of schoolsto enrollment growth larger at 1.0 % than the contribution of the increase inthe number of schools at 0.6 %.
141Patterns of Enrollment GrowthTable 1Enrollment in K12 Catholic Schools by Region, 1995 to 2016Enrollment(Thousands)1995AverageSchool SizeNumber of 19952005201611,576 19,806879911114,32215,176 15,61773102881,8418,94113,139 13,6731481261351,7151,83523,64823,061 4821,34161834754,90064,279 72,82690961009,356 12,436 19,17427,68832,643 39,893338381481Americas7,1987,0456,28623,12123,325 20,841311302302Asia4,5404,9085,96813,27115,547 15,956342316374Europe3,6083,0042,94918,45417,013 15,5691951771895446927492,5094,31421723417425,246 28,084 35,12585,04391,480 96,57329730736414,81630339939910,857 6341372362333391460689712709484549648World13,232 16,232 20,04633,349 39,096 47,862397Source: Compiled by the author from the annual Statistical Yearbook of the Church.415419Oceania8,607
142Journal of Catholic Education / Spring 2019Table 2Enrollment Growth in K12 Catholic Schools by Region, 1995 to 2016 (%)Annual EnrollmentGrowthin Catholic SchoolsAnnual Growth in theNumber of Schools199520052005201619952016199520052005- 19952016 2.21.01.6Annual Growth in theAverage School 0.11.31.51.4World2.11.92.01.126.96.36.199.1Source: Compiled by the author from the annual Statistical Yearbook of the Church.0.3WorldPrimaryAfricaAmericasAsiaSecondary
Patterns of Enrollment Growth143There are differences between regions not only in overall enrollmentgrowth rates, but also in the contributions of changes in the number ofschools and school size. These differences are visualized in Figure 1. The twocomponents of growth in enrollment are respectively on the horizontal axis(for the annual growth rate for the number of schools) and the vertical axis(for the annual growth rate for school size). The diagonal with negative slopecrossing the original axis separates regions with positive growth for totalenrollment (above the diagonal) from those with negative enrollment growth(below the diagonal). The dots on the scatter plots represent the five regions,with the size of the dots proportional to enrollment in 2016. The larger thedots are, the more important the regions are for their contributions to globalenrollment in Catholic schools. Regions and levels of schooling furthertowards the top right quadrant have the highest growth rates. The three dotswith the largest growth in enrollment are for Africa, underscoring just howmuch of the total growth took place in the region. By contrast, the dots forprimary education in both Europe and the Americas are below the diagonal.
144Journal of Catholic Education / Spring 2019Do high growth rates in enrollment ensure that Catholic schools maintain their market share, or even increase it? Not necessarily, since in thedeveloping world, and especially in Africa, population growth and gains inenrollment rates have led to large gains in total enrollment in school. WhileCatholic schools have expanded their reach, this has also been the case forpublic schools and low-cost private schools, especially in the recent past(Heyneman and Stern, 2014; World Bank, 2017).Figure 2 displays the growth rate in total enrollment for all schools combined (including not only Catholic schools, but also public schools, otherfaith-based schools, and private secular schools) on the horizontal axis, andfor Catholic schools on the vertical axis. The growth rates for all schools iscomputed using data from the UNESCO Institute of Statistics on the totalnumber of pupils in primary and secondary school. This is not done forpreschools and nurseries due to data limitations on global enrollment acrossall types of schools at that level. The dots on the Figure are thus for primaryand secondary schools only. Figure 2 illustrates how the growth rates for allschools combined, and for Catholic schools only, tend to be similar acrossregions and levels of schooling. Enrollment in Catholic schools is growingfaster where this is also the case for total enrollment in all schools, as expected.
Patterns of Enrollment Growth145The reasons leading to differences in the rates of growth in enrollmentin Catholic schools differ between countries. Exploring these dynamics isbeyond the scope of this paper, but as an illustration, consider the Democratic Republic of Congo, the country after India with the largest enrollmentin K12 Catholic schools today. As noted in Wodon (2019d), many schoolsin the country were founded by the Church. After Independence, under aprocess of “Zaïrianisation”, all schools were nationalized in 1974, but Catholicschools were returned to the management of the Church in 1977. Between1977 and 1990, enrollment grew. Thereafter, severe conflict led to a stagnationin enrollment for more than a decade. Enrollment grew again after the endof the second Congo war in 2003, almost doubling between 2003 and 2016.This pattern of growth is specific to the Democratic Republic of Congo, butdifferent countries clearly have had different patterns of growth in enrollment, with implications for the number of children enrolled as well as marketshares. But what is clear overall is that the largest gains in enrollment havebeen observed in Africa, essentially because of the combination of three mainfactors. First, population growth has been higher in the region than elsewhere. Second, enrollment rates have been improving faster in Africa froma low base than elsewhere, in part thanks to the Education for All initiative. Third, many countries that were affected by conflict as well as economicdownturns have benefited from more stability over the last two decades,which has also contributed to improvements in enrollment rates.Table 3 provides data on the comparative growth rates for all schools andfor Catholic schools. When the difference between the two growth rates ispositive, Catholic schools are increasing their market share. Otherwise theyare losing market share. Globally, enrollment in Catholic primary schoolsis growing slightly faster than in all schools combined, which means thatCatholic schools are gaining in market share, albeit in a modest way. For secondary schools, the reverse is observed. Despite substantial growth in enrollment in Catholic schools, the schools are nevertheless losing market share,again in modest ways. There are again differences between regions. In Africaand Oceania, Catholic schools are growing faster than all schools combined,especially at the secondary level for Africa. In the Americas and Europe,Catholic schools are losing ground in comparison to other schools. In Asia,they are growing faster than other schools at the primary level, but not at thesecondary level.
146Journal of Catholic Education / Spring 2019Table 3Comparison of Growth in Catholic Schools and for All Students by Region, 1995 to 2016 (%)Annual EnrollmentGrowth inCatholic Schools1995 2005- 1995-2005 2016 -2016Annual EnrollmentGrowth for AllSchools CombinedMarket Sharesof CatholicSchoolsDifference inGrowth .188.8.131.52SecondarySource: Compiled by the author from the annual Statistical Yearbook of the Church and the World Development Indicators.For perspective, based on an analysis of longer term trends in enrollmentand market shares provided in Wodon (2019a), the market shares of Catholicschools are also provided in Table 3 at the primary and secondary level. Thechanges in market shares are not very large over time at the global or regionallevel, but of course, for any given country, they can be larger, as has been thecase for example with the decline in enrollment that has taken place in theUnited States. Note also that at the regional level, trends over time in termsof market shares are not always similar between sub-periods. In Africa forexample, enrollment in Catholic schools grew less than in all schools from1995 to 2005, in part because of conflicts in countries with large enrollmentin Catholic schools such as the Democratic Republic of Congo. But enrollment in Catholics schools grew faster from 2005 to 2016 than in all schoolscombined, with both effects partly offsetting each other over the full periodfor market shares.
Patterns of Enrollment Growth147Analysis at the Country LevelBehind broad patterns by region, analysis at the country level can behelpful to illustrate the heterogeneity that exists between countries in boththe size of their Catholic school networks and their patterns of growth overtime. Table 4 provides data for the 20 countries that have the largest enrollment for each of the three levels of education. For preschools and nurseriesas well as secondary schools, India is the country with the largest enrolment.At the primary level, India is behind Uganda. The Democratic Republic ofCongo also has high enrolment at the primary and secondary levels (as doesKenya), and when all three levels are considered together, the country rankssecond only behind India in terms of total enrolment in K12 schools. AmongWestern countries, enrolment is high in Germany, Italy, France and Spainat the preschool and nursery level, while the United States still tops the listat the primary and secondary school levels despite a decline in enrolmentfor several decades. There are more African countries towards the top of thelists at the primary level than at the other two levels. This was expected givenlower educational attainment and limited pre-primary enrolment in thosecountries. In many African countries, while progress has been achieved underthe Education for All initiative at the primary level, much remains to be doneat the pre-primary and secondary levels. This also means that growth in totalenrolment in Africa will likely be faster than in other regions for the foreseeable future.Figures 3 to 5 visualize the data by level of education in the same way asdone for Figure 1, namely with the growth in the number of schools on thehorizontal axis, and the growth in school size on the vertical axis. For easeof comparison across levels of schooling, the minimum and maximum valuesfor the two axes have been defined in the same way for the three levels. Thenames of the countries are not marked in the Figures because of readabilityissues given the number of countries being considered, but the data are available in Table 4 (See Supplementary Materials). As mentioned in the previoussection, globally the annual growth rate for enrolment in Catholic schoolswas higher for preschool/nurseries and secondary schools than for primaryschools, reflecting the fact that enrolment rates are already high in most partsof the world for primary education. The lower rates of growth for primaryenrolment can be seen through the fact that countries tend to be clusteredaround the origin on the Figure for that level. For preschools/nurseries,more countries are located towards the right part of the graph, reflectingboth higher growth rates and a l
Patterns of Enrollment Growth 137 Enrollment growth in Catholic schools may come from a greater num-ber of schools, a larger number of students in existing schools, or both since the growth rate in enrollment is simply the sum of the growth rates for the number of schools and for the average size of schools. Similarly, in countries