What we know (and the great deal we don’t) about education and disability

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

This blog was also published by ONE

New analysis confirms that persons with disabilities are nearly always worse off than those without disabilities when it comes to education 

Persons with disabilities are among the most marginalised groups in any society. Many face daily discrimination in the form of negative or even hostile attitudes and are often excluded from their fundamental human rights by poor policy choices and lack of specialised services and support. For children with disabilities, this exclusion can include the denial of the basic right to a quality education.

This matters because their wellbeing is a key barometer for progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with their emphasis on equity and on ensuring that nobody is left behind. However, hard evidence on the educational disparities linked to disability has long been marred by a lack of reliable and comparable data.

One problem has been the ‘invisibility’ of children with disabilities, with many thought to be undiagnosed, hidden at home or consigned to ‘special’ schools and, therefore, missing from mainstream education statistics. As a result, we are not even sure of their number. Some estimates suggest there are at least 93 million children with disabilities worldwide but the numbers could be much, much higher, according to UNICEF. Without this basic knowledge, it is so harder to estimate their educational status.

However, a new paper from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) is a step in the right direction, as the first in-depth analysis of the available data across 49 countries. Education and Disability sets out what we know – and what we don’t – about this challenge. Continue reading

Producing Equity Data to End the Education Lottery

By Silvia Montoya, Director of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS), and the authors* of The Handbook on Measuring Equity in Education

This blog was also published by the Global Partnership for Education

It is something we have come to see as self-evident: education is a fundamental right, and without it, our lives – and indeed our world – would be greatly diminished. It is something we even take for granted.

But as the most recent data show, one in every five children, adolescents and youth worldwide is denied this right, shut out of the education that could, or should, transform their lives. They are often the poorest of the poor, the children with disabilities, the refugee or migrant children. They are often girls, but in some countries – and at some levels of education – they are also boys. Continue reading

A Global Framework to Measure Digital Literacy

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

This blog was also published by the Global Education Monitoring Report

digital lit 1From the cocoa farmer in Ghana using a mobile phone to market crops to the nurse in Sweden using telehealth to check on patients at home – digital literacy is considered an essential set of skills needed to find information and communicate in today’s world.

This is why one of the monitoring indicators of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 4.4, which focuses on “relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship” among youth and adults, looks at digital literacy. In particular, it calls on countries to track the percentage of youth and adults who have achieved at least a minimum level of proficiency in digital literacy skills.

Both the target and indicator reflect the commitment and forward-thinking of countries. But what exactly does it mean to achieve a minimum level of digital skills? Clearly the contexts will vary from one country to another. The challenge lies in finding a sufficiently broad definition that reflects these different contexts and priorities of countries while developing a measurement approach to generate the internationally- comparable data needed to monitor progress towards SDG 4. Continue reading

How Can We Measure SDG Progress on Science, Technology and Innovation?

By Silvia Montoya, Director of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics

The UN Statistical Commission is meeting in New York this week (6-9 March) to discuss a range of data related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). While the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) is clearly recognized as the official data source for SDG 4 on education, the Commission will also be reviewing the role of the UIS in helping to monitor progress towards SDG 9 on innovation.

As part of Target 9.5 countries have pledged to: enhance scientific research, upgrade the technological capabilities of industrial sectors in all countries, in particular developing countries, including, by 2030, encouraging innovation and substantially increasing the number of research and development workers per 1 million people and public and private research and development spending.

To monitor progress towards this target, the UIS is producing two global indicators related to research and development (R&D): R&D expenditure as a proportion of GDP, and researchers per million population. At the same time, the Institute is developing a thematic set of indicators on Science, Technology and Innovation (STI), given their vital role in reaching each and every SDG.  Continue reading

Advocating for Girls’ Education: Why We Need Data

By Tanya Guyatt, 60 million girls Foundation

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

International Women’s Day on March 8 is a time for reflection on the successes that women and girls around the world have made in pursuit of gender equality. But as the theme of the day, ‘Press for Progress’, suggests, we must also consider the challenges ahead.

Past progress does not in itself imply a better future – we have to guard against complacency and continue to press forward for change.

In global education, that means all children should be in school, learning, and developing the skills they need to boost incomes and contribute to their communities.  Continue reading

Time to Get Serious About Education for All, with Progress at a Standstill

By Silvia Montoya, Director of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) and Karen Mundy, Chief Technical Officer, Global Partnership for Education (GPE)

 This blog was also published by the GPE.

The latest figures on out-of-school-children are sobering, to say the least. According to new data from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS), progress remains at a standstill. We still have about 263 million – or one out of five – children, adolescents and youth worldwide out of school and this number has barely changed over the past five years.

Despite strenuous efforts to get every child into primary school, there has been little or no progress at the global level over the past decade, with 9% of children of primary age denied their right to education in 2008, and 9% still out of school today (see our video).  Continue reading

SDG4-Education 2030 Steering Committee: Time for a Concerted Push to Help Countries Produce the Best Possible Data

This blog was originally published by the Global Education Monitoring Report.

By Silvia Montoya, Director of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) and Dankert Vedeler, Co-Chair of the SDG Education 2030 Steering Committee and Assistant Director General of the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research

With so many threads coming together.. the task now is to weave them into one coherent whole as we push for the best possible data on education to monitor progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4). And the Fourth SDG-Education 2030 Steering Committee Meeting in Paris this week is an opportunity to do just that. Continue reading