Fewer Children in Classrooms

Fewer Children in Classrooms

Organisation: La Nación (Costa Rica) (Costa Rica)

Publication Date: 03/31/2016

Size of team/newsroom:large


The interactive special “Fewer Children in Classrooms emerged in a meeting with researchers of the State of Education Report, which highlights the decrease in primary school enrollment. This topic awakened the journalistic interest in our daily, which embarked in the task of enhancing and visualizing the analysis in order to provide readers with the more complete picture of the situation, school-by-school. The database used for the analysis by La Nación is the same used by the State of Education Report. The data were supplied by the Ministry of Public Education. However, the way in which the base is analyzed differs in several aspects, which are described below: 1. IEE studied the data from 4,054 day schools, the official MEP number for 2014. This daily, instead, used a base with 3,982 educational centers, 63 less than those analyzed by the IEE. 2. Why the difference? La Nación decided to compare, only, the enrollment data of schools which operated both in 2009 and 2014. The State of Education Report focused its analysis in the situation of educational centers operating in 2014, and based on it a spatial representation was generated for those schools where enrollment decreased in more than 20%. 3. In spite of methodological differences in data processing, the general conclusion remains. 4. Of the 4,054 I- and II-cycle educational centers reported in 2014, 70.5% recorded a drop in enrollment as compared to the year 2009. La Nación‘s analysis found that the drop took place in 71.8% of the educational centers. From our own analysis was possible to establish that the drop in enrollment in the six years analyzed was a little over 59,000 children, reaching 443,400 (12% less) last year. The second and third parts of this publication (“Fewer children: About the drop in the childbirth rate” and the projections titled “Pupils in the future”) were developed upon the creation and analysis of another set of data: 1. Births per canton in the years 2000 to 2013, according to the National Statistics and Census Bureau. 2. Canton population projections in the years 2000 to 2013 from the Central American Population Center. Based on that information, the birth rates per 1,000 inhabitants were estimated for each of the 81 cantons. To develop the canton projections for elementary-school age population, for the period 2016-2020, the first thing was to determine the years of birth of the children who will be 7- to 12-years old, and who will complete primary school in the next five years.In that age bracket, we find 92% of those attending primary, independently from whether or not they are repeaters. In that way, estimates include only those born between 2004 and 2013. In this interactive special, you can check the prospective estimates for each canton and compare them with the trend in its corresponding province. Keep in mind that the projections do not take into account the future effects of migrations between cantons.

What makes this project innovative? What was its impact?

The “Fewer Children in Classrooms” project is the first online application that enables making interactive comparisons in the enrollment in elementary 4.000 schools throughout the country. It also includes projections of the population to estimate the behavior of the 7- to 12-year-old population in the 81 cantons from 2016 through 2020.

Technologies used for this project:

To build the interactive site, programming languages such as HTML5, CSS3, SVG, CartoDB, jQuery, JS, jSpreadSheet, Google Drive were used. Use of tools: Brackets, Pngyu App, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Sketch, Invision App, paper and pencil. Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise Edition x64 bits: Database Manager System. Microsoft SQL Server Business Intelligence Development Studio (SSIS): platform which allowed generating high-performance data-integration solutions, among which packs for mining, transforming and loading data were included.


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