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Educational attainment, Sierra Leone

Codes and Frequencies

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Explore how IPUMS created this variable


      class Educsl:public Editor {

    Educsl(VarPointer varInfo) : Editor(varInfo) {}
    void edit() {

        long a = getRecoded();
        switch (dataSet) {
        case dataset_id::sl2004a:
            if (SL2004A_0417() == 99 && SL2004A_0402() >= 6 && SL2004A_0402() < 99)
                a = 100;
        case dataset_id::sl2015a:
            if (SL2015A_0431() == 99 && SL2015A_0402() >= 3) 
                a = 100;




EDUCSL indicates the person's educational attainment in Sierra Leone in terms of the level of schooling completed.

Comparability — General

Sierra Leone's education system changed to 6-3-3 in 1993. It consists of 6 years of primary, 3 years of junior secondary, and 3 years of senior secondary school. Students are required to pass final examinations to progress to the next level: the National Primary School Examination (NPSE) at the end of primary, the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) at the end of junior secondary, and the West African Secondary School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) at the end of senior secondary.

Technical and vocational education is offered at different stages, from primary to post-secondary. In the 2004 census, the vocational/commercial category could include different types of education, not necessarily all of them post-secondary. Technical education refers to the Ordinary National Diploma (OND) and the Higher National Diploma (HND), which are the highest qualifications at technical/vocational institutes and polytechnics. Nursing education includes different qualifications up to that of State Registered Nurse (SRN).

Teacher education is post-secondary, and it is offered at teacher colleges, polytechnics, and universities. The entry requirements depend on the program, but are at minimum completion of senior secondary.

Teacher training in the 2004 census explicitly includes persons holding a Teacher Certificate (TC) or a Higher Teacher Certificate (HTC). In 2015, different types of post-secondary non-tertiary programs are not separately identified, but they include the grade completed.

The tertiary education categories are university-based and they comprise certificates and diplomas, first degrees, and post-graduate programs.

The 2015 sample identifies the highest educational level with the grade completed, while the 2004 sample indicates the highest educational level attained, without grades, except for primary education.

In the 2015 sample, all education levels have a category for zero years completed. These persons are coded to the highest grade of the level immediately lower than the one they reported. For example, persons with zero years of junior secondary school completed are coded to 6 years of primary. Note that persons with zero years of pre-school or primary school completed are coded to no education received, and persons with zero years of post-graduate studies completed are coded to 4 years of first degree completed. As an exception, the persons with zero years of post-secondary education are coded to grade 0 of that level because different types of post-secondary programs require distinct minimum education requirements.

The 2004 and 2015 censuses also identifies persons who attended Koranic schools, which provide religious education based on the Koran. The census documentation does not state the forms of education in the "other" category.

The samples have different minimum age universes.


  • Sierra Leone 2004: Persons age 6+
  • Sierra Leone 2015: Persons age 3+


  • Sierra Leone: 2004, 2015