Southeast Asia 1970-2030

Reconstruction and projection of levels of levels of educational attainment in five countries of southeast Asia from 1970-2030 show the legacy of past investments to increase education levels

This work examines the levels of educational attainment in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam from 1970 to 2030 by reconstructing and projecting levels of educational attainment.

While the study of the past shows that the determination to invest in education has been strong in those six countries, the efforts to increase levels of education were implemented at different rates and intensity. The projections show the legacy of those past efforts.

In Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand, there will be tangible increases in the proportion of the working-age population with a tertiary education. The Philippines will have a dichotomous society, where large proportions will have either tertiary or only primary education. In Indonesia, the bulk of the working-age population will shift from primary in 2000 to secondary by 2030.

The projection horizon and the trend type of scenarios do not allow Vietnam to catch up with the other countries.


Detailed tables on the result of the back and forward projections for the six countries can be found here. Tables provide levels of educational attainment by age, sex and according to two scenarios: Constant and Trend. The two scenarios differ only by the education assumptions for the future; both scenarios follow the same paths in terms of fertility, mortality and migration. The assumptions are shown here (methodology in PDF)

Table 1: Reconstructed population by age (15 to 65+), sex (male, female, both sexes), and level of educational attainment, 1970-1995, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam

Table 2: Projected population by age (0 to 75+), sex (male, female, both sexes), and level of educational attainment, 2000-2030, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand,
Vietnam, according to Constant and Trend education scenarios

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Last edited: 22 July 2013


Samir K.C.

Project Leader

World Population

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