Follow the Money: Tracking Education Spending to Reinforce Accountability

By Sonia Ilie, Pauline Rose and Asma Zubairi, Research for Equitable Access and Learning (REAL) Centre, University Of Cambridge

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

It’s Global Action Week for Education, with the focus firmly on accountability. As we all know, if we want to hold our decisionmakers to account, we must have good data. Without it, we have little evidence of whether they are keeping their promises or not.

In the case of education, this certainly means knowing how many children are in school, how many are out of the classroom, and whether they are making good progress in their learning. But there is another critical area that is crucial not only for accountability on education, and that is the money. Who pays for education? How much do they pay? Where does the money go? And very importantly, who is benefiting from public spending by governments? Continue reading

Why We Need Effective Education Management Information Systems

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

It may sound dry and dusty, but an education management information system (EMIS) lies at the very heart of efforts to monitor progress towards the world’s education goals, particularly Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4). It is a vital instrument that has, perhaps, had less attention than it deserves, given that an EMIS should be, in essence, in the core of the planning and policy implementation processes in a country’s education ‘machine’. Continue reading

Priorities and Challenges for Education Data in Sweden

Lotta Larsson, Senior Advisor in the Department for Population and Welfare Statistics, Statistics Sweden

This blog was also published by Norrag.

As the Inter-agency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators (IAEG-SDGs) meets in Vienna from 9-12 April 2018, a perspective from Sweden illustrates the challenges even the world’s most advanced statistical systems face in producing the education data needed to monitor and achieve the global education goal.  

The Scandinavian countries are often held as a model for other countries to follow on almost any area of development you can name, from poverty reduction to health and well-being. From an international perspective, Sweden is a country with a high quality education system.

In 2013, however, the PISA results showed that the average scores had declined from previous heights to below the average for OECD countries. This started discussions on the quality of the education system at the primary and lower secondary levels in Sweden. Since 2013 the country’s PISA results have improved and it is now – once again – at or above the OECD average for mathematics, reading and science. Continue reading

We Need to Re-Boot the Education Sector with Demand-Side Data Innovation

By Luis Crouch, Chief Technical Officer of the International Development Group (RTI), and Silvia Montoya, Director of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS)

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

For years, the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) and many other international agencies have been assisting countries in producing better education data, which are needed more than ever. The approach has typically been supply-side: capacity building, technical assistance, donation of hardware and software, etc. This has led to significant improvement. For example, today we have much better data on primary school completion rates than we did 20 years ago.

While this supply-side approach is critical, we must also take a sharper focus on demand from countries, central statistical offices, teachers: the side that should shape donor decisions around funding. Which means that it is time to make a collective and demand-driven investment case for the production of international data, backed by innovative and flexible approaches to meet specific donor demands. Continue reading

A Quick Win in Monitoring How Much Children Learn

By Nadir Altinok (Associate Professor of Economics, Université de Lorraine, France) and Silvia Montoya, Director of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS)

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

The news that more than more than half – 617 million – children and adolescents of primary and lower secondary school age worldwide are not reaching minimum proficiency levels in reading and mathematics is a wake-up call for educators and for statisticians. Without such data, we would be unaware of the learning crisis that threatens progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – a crisis that demands an urgent response from education ministries, most certainly, but also from the world’s data gatherers. Continue reading

News from Hamburg: Big Steps Forward towards Reliable Metrics to Harmonise Learning Assessment Data Globally

By Silvia Montoya, Director of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) and Dirk Hastedt, Executive Director of the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA)

This blog was also published by Norrag.

On the day that the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) released new global numbers of children and adolescents not learning, representatives from regional and international learning assessments gathered in Hamburg, Germany. They had answered the UIS’ call to come together to help tackle measurement issues around the coverage and comparability of data for SDGs Indicator 4.1.1: the proportion of children and young people in Grade 2 or 3; at the end of primary education; and at the end of lower secondary education, achieving at least a minimum proficiency level in reading and mathematics. Continue reading

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.  Continue reading