Focus on our SDG 4 Data Digest Partners: Conférence des Ministres de l’Éducation des États et Gouvernements de la Francophonie (CONFEMEN)

By Hilaire Hounkpodoté, PASEC Coordinator

The recent SDG 4 Data Digest illustrates the range of partners working with the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) to help countries produce and use assessment data to strengthen lifelong learning. This blog highlights the work of one of these vital partners: the Conférence des Ministres de l’Éducation des États et Gouvernements de la Francophonie (CONFEMEN). CONFEMEN works with the world’s French-speaking countries to implement the Programme for the Analysis of Education Systems (PASEC), a renowned regional learning assessment.

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We Must Support Our Teachers

By Silvia Montoya, Director of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS)

It seems so obvious: without good teachers, there cannot be good education. But when you look more closely at the conditions in which millions of them work, you could be forgiven for thinking that this message isn’t getting through.

The latest data release from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) offers some sobering facts and figures for the annual CIES Conference in San Francisco this week. The Conference will focus on ‘Education for Sustainability’, and it seems to me that you cannot sustain anything in education – not even one single school class – without a good teacher who is driving the pupils’ learning. Continue reading

Join the UIS at CIES 2019: Education Data for Sustainability

As the custodian agency for SDG 4, the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) works with countries and a wide range of partners to develop the indicators and methodologies needed to monitor progress towards the global education goal. The UIS will present the latest developments at the annual conference of the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) in San Francisco from 14-18 April.

CIES 2019 banner

Join the UIS at the following events.

Measurement and critique of sustainability (Tue, 16 April, 10:00 to 11:30 am, Hyatt Regency, Level -1, Pacific A)

The UIS will present on methodological challenges related to SDG Indicator 4.7.1, which examines the extent to which i) global citizenship education; and ii) education for sustainable development, including gender equality and human rights, are mainstreamed at all levels in: a) national education policies; b) curricula; c) teacher education; and d) student assessment.

To date, 83 countries have reported data in response to a UNESCO questionnaire. Based on these results, UNESCO and the UIS are developing a methodological approach to group countries by their degree of progress towards mainstreaming of global citizenship education and education for sustainable development. This will greatly improve the comparability and availability of data for SDG Indicator 4.7.1.

To measure the treasure: Contributions from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics and the Global Education Monitoring Report (Tue, 16 April, 11:45 am to 1:15 pm, Hyatt Regency, Level -1, Pacific D/E/F)

This panel will feature a lively discussion among the directors of UIS and GEMR as well as longstanding partners in the measurement of education goals. It will begin by looking at the past by asking: how did the UIS and GEMR help develop the monitoring framework for international education targets from Dakar to Incheon?

Discussions will then turn to the present: how are the UIS and GEMR trying to share with the world the core idea behind the SDG 4 monitoring framework? This will set the stage to look to the future and explore the challenges and risks facing the UIS and GEMR to fulfil this vision.
Better data for SDG 4: Recent methodological developments (Wed, 17 April, 3:15 to 4:45 pm, Hyatt Regency, Level -1, Pacific 1)

The UIS is organizing and chairing this panel with experts in education statistics, who will speak about:

  • new household data on foundational learning skills during the early grades of primary education for calculation of SDG Indicator 4.1.1(a) (proportion of children in Grade 2 or 3 achieving at least a minimum proficiency level in reading and mathematics);
  • a new model to generate estimates of school completion rates based on data from multiple sources for SDG Targets 4.1 (ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes) and 4.5 (eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and children in vulnerable situations); and
  • use of model-based estimates to assess the literacy skills of adults as part of SDG Target 4.6 (ensure that all youth and a substantial proportion of adults, both men and women, achieve literacy and numeracy).

Teacher autonomy (Thu, 18 April, 10:00 to 11:30 am, Hyatt Regency, Street Level 0, Regency A)

Teachers are an essential – and arguably the most important – element to achieve SDG 4, with Target 4.c calling on countries to substantially increase the supply of qualified teachers. Five of the seven indicators associated with this target relate to teacher training and qualifications.

Yet today, there is no universally accepted definition of what it means to be a “qualified” or “trained” teacher. In response, the UIS is working with partners to develop a classification of teacher training programmes to help countries report internationally comparable data on teachers and learn from the experience of others from a policymaking perspective.

Sustainable development through measurement in learning: Perspectives from international organizations and countries (Thu, 18 April, 11:45 am to 1:15 pm, Hyatt Regency, Street Level 0, Regency B)

The political agendas and monitoring frameworks of the SDGs are extremely ambitious and learning is paramount for sustainable development. This panel session, organized by the UIS, will focus on:

  • the benefits and costs of measuring the Sustainable Development Goals;
  • frameworks and tools designed to help countries report SDG Indicator 4.1.1 (proportion of children and young people achieving at least a minimum proficiency level in reading and mathematics);
  • initiatives by international organizations, such as the World Bank, to help countries strengthen their learning assessments; and
  • innovative approaches developed by Mexico to monitor learning as part of SDG 4.

Use of learning assessment data in education policy: Technical and political barriers (Thu, 18 April, 3:15 to 4:45 pm, Hyatt Regency, Level -1, Pacific

With learning outcomes at the core of the SDG 4 monitoring framework, this panel will focus on the challenges of producing and using assessment data. According to the UIS, about 100 countries do not systematically assess learning. At the same time, many countries that do assess learning are unable to make full use of their data for policymaking and planning purposes.

Based on a wide range of experience, the UIS Director will show the way forward on how countries can overcome the technical challenges and make the best possible use of assessment data to meet their specific needs in terms of policy planning as well as reporting.


Data to Celebrate 50 Years of Progress on Girls’ Education

By Silvia Montoya, Director of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS)

This blog was also published by Norrag.

On International Women’s Day, we can look back at 50 years of extraordinary efforts to get girls into the classroom. Thanks to these efforts, the gender gap in education is closing and has been closing for decades. And today, the majority of girls worldwide complete primary school. Girls are also in school for longer than ever before. As 50 years of data produced by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) show, girls’ school life expectancy is on the rise.

School life expectancy is the number of years of education a child can expect to receive. Overall the trends look good, even though school life expectancy also includes the years that girls repeat grades. Back in 1970, the global average for girls’ school life expectancy, spanning primary, secondary and tertiary education, was around 6.7 years. Today, it tops 12 years. Continue reading

Digital Literacy Skills: From a Framework to a Measure

By Manos Antoninis, Director of the Global Education Monitoring Report

The latest SDG 4 Data Digest 2018, Data to Nurture Learning, summarized, among other things, the progress made by a range of partners working with the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) towards establishing a framework and identifying assessment tools to monitor digital literacy skills.

 Against the backdrop of Mobile Learning Week, this blog highlights the challenges for operationalizing the framework in a way that is formative, informative and cost efficient.   Continue reading

Millions of Girls Are Out of School – But Data Show that Gender Alone Is Not the Main Culprit

By Tanya Guyatt, 60 million girls Foundation

International Women’s Day on 8 March is a time to celebrate achievements in advancing gender equality. It’s also a day to push for more progress, and this year’s theme “think equal, build smart, innovate for change” suggests that real change requires a new approach. We need innovative solutions to reach the remaining out-of-school girls and to ensure that all children finish school with the skills to thrive in today’s modern, global economy.

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What Makes a Good Classroom? New UIS Data on School Conditions

By Silvia Montoya, Director of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS).

This blog was also published by Norrag.

Among the many factors fuelling the global learning crisis that stunts the educational path of six out of ten children and adolescents, we must consider the conditions in which children try to learn and teachers try to teach.

To put it simply: are pupils and teachers working in schools and classrooms that are fit for purpose? Do they have all the basic facilities they need – electricity, clean drinking water and single-sex toilets – as well as those 21st century essentials: Internet access and computers? Or are children and teachers struggling in crumbling, overcrowded and poorly-equipped classrooms? Continue reading