Focus on our SDG4 Data Digest Partners: The OECD Launches PISA for Development

By Michael Ward, Senior Policy Analyst in OECD’s Development Co-operation Directorate and the Education and Skills Directorate

The new edition of the 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 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which has just announced the first results from its PISA for Development (PISA-D) initiative. PISA-D builds on the OECD’s long-running Programme for International Student Assessment to assess learning in low- and middle-income countries. Continue reading

Data to Nurture Learning that Lasts a Lifetime

The UIS has launched the SDG 4 Data Digest, which explores the internationally-comparable data needed to ensure the lifelong learning envisaged by SDG 4.

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

We have been ringing alarm bells about the global learning crisis for some time, with 617 million children and adolescents worldwide unable to read a simple sentence or handle a basic mathematics calculation. This year’s SDG 4 Data Digest: Data to Nurture Learning from the UIS turns up the volume, making the case for data to monitor lifelong learning.

The Digest is the go-to source for information on how to gather data on learning outcomes and – above all – how to use the information to improve those outcomes, showcasing proven and promising approaches. This is where data have real power: showing us the challenges and kick-starting the changes needed to ensure lifelong learning. Continue reading

In Search of Common Ground for Learning Indicators – From Local to Global

By Baela Raza Jamil, Chief Executive Officer of Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi, Lead of ASER Pakistan and Commissioner on the Education Commission 

For 10 consecutive days in October, I travelled across Hamburg, Karachi, Islamabad, Muzzafarabad (AJK), Rahim Yar Khan, Bahawalpur, Multan, Muzzaffargarh and Lahore. The purposes of my travel included chasing a consensus for globally-agreed learning indicators, initiating the 2018 Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) assessments and overseeing accelerated learning gains for out-of-school adolescent girls. Mindboggling as the 10-day footprint may be, the common thread was the importance of measuring and improving learning and that improvements are verified through agreed definitions. Continue reading

How Civil Society Can Supply Rigorous Data for the SDGs: The Citizen-Led Assessment Approach

By Hannah-May Wilson, Senior Technical Consultant, PAL Network

When the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were drafted in 2015, there was broad agreement that the new global goals needed to evolve from measuring increased access, investment in infrastructure and reporting average learning gains, to measuring learning with a focus on the most disadvantaged children. The focus on ensuring that no child is left behind is crucial. Evidence from many low-income countries shows that learning inequalities are visible before children even start school, primarily driven by disparities in wealth. When wealth disparities interact with other forms of disadvantage such as gender, geographic location, disability, and ethnic and linguistic minority status, they reinforce and exacerbate disadvantage, with the consequence that disadvantaged children have little chance of ever catching up.

Failure to achieve the Millennium Development Goal of universal primary education in many low-income countries, coupled with the uncomfortable fact that millions of children who are in school are not learning the basics, have resulted in a ‘global learning crisis’ affecting more than one-half of all children and adolescents, according to estimates from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS). The new data have set alarm bells ringing and are the central focus of the 2018 World Bank Development Report. The eye-watering fact is that today, of the 617 million children and adolescents worldwide not achieving minimum proficiency levels in reading and mathematics, two-thirds are in school. Continue reading

Educational Prosperity: Looking Beyond Equality to Equity

By J. Douglas Willms, President of The Learning Bar Inc

The educational prosperity framework that I introduced in a recent blog provides an essential structure for understanding the holistic and cumulative ways that children develop, learn and thrive. The benefits of the framework are hardly theoretical: they provide an important and practical guide for ways that monitoring data can—and should—be used to create smarter and more effective policies to help young people thrive.  Continue reading

The Educational Prosperity Framework: Helping Countries Provide Foundational Learning for All

By J. Douglas Willms, President of The Learning Bar Inc

To honour World Teachers Day, this blog presents an assessment framework, called Education Prosperity, that can be used to track the success of teachers, families, communities and public institutions in developing children’s cognitive skills and their social, emotional, physical and spiritual well-being. Continue reading

Helping Countries Make the Most of their Education Investments with the Global Content Framework of Reference for Reading

By Silvia Montoya, Director of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS)
This blog was also published by Norrag

On Saturday, the world celebrated International Literacy Day. And indeed there was much to celebrate, with literacy rates continuing to rise from one generation to the next, remarkable progress on literacy among youth, in particular, and a steady narrowing of gender gaps. Half a century ago, almost one quarter of youth worldwide lacked the most basic literacy skills, falling to less than 10% in 2016.

But we also need to take a step back and look at just how far we still have to go. Data from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) show that 750 million adults – two-thirds of them women – still lack basic reading and writing skills. What’s more, 102 million of those who cannot read or write worldwide are aged 15 to 24. This tells us that something is not working when it comes to equipping youth with these basic skills. Continue reading