Moving Up a Gear: The CapED Initiative

By Silvia Montoya, Director of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics and Jordan Naidoo, Director of the UNESCO Division for Education 2030 Support and Coordination

This blog was also published by the Global Partnership for Education (GPE).

In 2015, the international community agreed on Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4), which now forms the universal education agenda to 2030. Many countries still have a far way to go to reach these targets, and to do this, they will need external support to overhaul their education systems. There are two dimensions at stake to achieve SDG 4: identification of policy priorities and the associated data availability and quality to monitor progress.

One example described in this blog is the effort of UNESCO’s Education Sector and the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) in implementing a SDG 4 pilot initiative in ten countries as part of the UNESCO Capacity Development for Education (CapED) Program. The SDG 4 pilot initiative is an ambitious and innovative initiative aimed to help bridge the gap between national education policies and data collection and use.

CapED supports countries in their efforts to develop national capacities to integrate SDG 4 commitments into national education policy and management. The first component of the pilot initiative, which reviewed national plans and policies in light of SDG 4 commitments has been completed. Now, the second component, which focuses on strengthening national capacities to improve monitoring progress on SDG 4, is ready to be rolled-out.

The ten pilot countries are:  Afghanistan, Cambodia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Mali, Madagascar, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal and Senegal.  All of them with the exception of Myanmar are also partner countries of the Global Partnership for Education.

Training materials and tools

Training materials and tools developed in the preparation phase of the SDG 4 pilot initiative include:

  • A methodological definition of the global and thematic indicators for the SDG 4–Education 2030 agenda. This resource contains UIS-developed metadata and methodological definitions of the proposed global and thematic indicators for education.
  • Tools to assess the availability and quality of the data to monitor progress. These tools will help countries to pinpoint data gaps and areas for improvement and, in turn, help to shape an action plan. The three tools are :

– A template to report on data sources and possibilities of disaggregation;
– A set of frameworks (DQAF) to assess the quality of different data sources (administrative data, expenditure data (private and public), household survey data and learning assessment data); and
– Guidance to improve processes with a focus on good practices in learning assessments and household surveys to guide efforts and resource allocations.

  • Guidance on how to build an overall educational data strategy: The National Strategy for the Development of Education Statistics (NSDES) is a policy design instrument that embeds the vision of a strengthened education data system for the country. The NSDES will enable country-level stakeholders to prepare more efficiently and effectively a medium-term capacity development programme plan, ensuring an emphasis on results based on a careful assessment of possibilities including funding.

Building country ownership: Learning by doing together  

The CapED SDG 4 pilot initiative follows a ‘learning by doing’ process that uses simple, flexible tools that can be adapted to specific contexts. A participatory process to build consensus is the necessary next phase, which will see national teams being trained to use the tools during the second semester of 2017.

This training will prepare the ground for the final recommendation phase, which will enable national teams to prepare action plans for capacity development and roadmaps (such as their NSDES). A knowledge-sharing mechanism, namely a dedicated National Expert Group on Education Data (NEGED), will be established in all participating countries as a space for dialogue between government and partners to improve support, avoid duplication of effort and reduce transaction costs.

Priorities differ from country to country and thus the NEGED serves as an important tool to align national and international needs.

The focus of the NEGED in Madagascar, for example is on improving age-related data to better evaluate whether children are starting basic schooling on time and making the transition to higher grades and levels. The country has also identified pressing needs for more data on early school leaving and second-chance or remedial programmes, on technical and vocational education and training, and on higher education. 

Rolling-out CapED

The first training sessions will take place in Cambodia from 31 July-4 August 2017 and in Mozambique on 7-8 August 2017, followed by sessions in the other eight countries.

The CapED SDG 4 pilot initiative will set the tone of working with, rather than against, national contexts and builds on UIS’ experience of working collaboratively with national actors on data gathering and analysis.


Learning Progression Explorer: Tell Us What You Think

By Ray Adams, Director of ACER’s Centre for Global Education Monitoring and a Professorial Fellow of the University of Melbourne

This blog was also published by the Global Partnership for Education (GPE).

The push for globally-comparable measures of learning is truly underway, with work well advanced through the Global Alliance to Monitor Learning (GAML) to develop common metrics to benchmark student performance in reading and mathematics. The development of common metrics is fundamental to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4): ensure inclusive and quality education for all by 2030. Common metrics are crucial if we are to obtain a comprehensive and comparable picture of how well children are learning what they need to learn – the ‘quality’ part of the SDG 4 equation. Continue reading

A Pragmatic and Unified Approach to Measure Learning Globally

By Silvia Montoya, Director of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics

This blog was also published by the Global Partnership for Education (GPE).

Last month saw a major leap forward on the global reporting of learning outcomes – on which children are learning, which children are not learning, and why.

At a meeting convened by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) in Washington D.C. on June 26, partners representing regional and international learning assessments, as well as development partners, pledged to move forward together to tackle the pressing need for comparable data on learning outcomes at the global level. Continue reading

Everything is in Place to Track Global Progress on Education: Except the Data

By Silvia Montoya, Director of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics and Dankert Vedeler, Co-Chair of the SDG Education 2030 Steering Committee

This blog was also published by Norrag.

The global goal for progress on education (SDG 4) has been set: an inclusive and equitable education for every child by 2030. The individual targets that must be achieved if we are to reach the goal are in place, from learning outcomes to teacher training. And experts and organizations working on education data have developed the detailed indicators that will signal whether or not the world is on track to achieve the global goal by the deadline. Continue reading

World Poverty Could Be More than Halved if All Adults Finish Secondary School

By Aaron Benavot, Director of the Global Education Monitoring Report, and Silvia Montoya, Director of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics

In a few weeks, the UN High-Level Political Forum will gather to discuss poverty eradication as a cornerstone of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Agenda. Debates over how to tackle entrenched poverty often centre on different political ideologies. For some, the answer may be the pursuit of free-market economic growth, in the hope that some of the wealth generated will ‘trickle down’. For others, the answer may be social and economic interventions aimed at levelling the playing field, where everyone has something, even if that something is – at best – meagre. Continue reading

The Pressure is On! Powering Ahead with the Technical Cooperation Group for SDG 4 – Education 2030 Indicators

By Silvia Montoya and Jordan Naidoo, Co-Chairs of the TCG

This blog was originally published by Norrag.

The pressure is on! This is the conclusion of the recent meeting of the Technical Cooperation Group (TCG) on SDG 4 – Education 2030 Indicators. While discussions covered a range of issues, the question on everyone’s mind was how we will measure learning globally given the tremendous gaps in data, methodology and capacity-building. For example, only 32% of the developing countries receiving support from the Global Partnership for Education take part in learning assessments and their results cannot be compared globally.  Continue reading

A Roadmap with Workable Tools to Measure Learning Achievements Worldwide

By David Coleman, Senior Education Advisor, Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (and Chair of the GAML Strategic Planning Committee), and Silvia Montoya, Director of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS)

This blog was originally published by the Global Partnership for Education (GPE)

Report from the third meeting of the Global Alliance to Monitor Learning (11-12 May)

The world community is that much closer to having answers to one of the most fundamental questions in education: who is – and who is not – meeting agreed educational standards?  The answer to this question will allow involved actors to more accurately respond and take action: how do we prioritize energy and resources to achieve learning for all? Continue reading