Focus on our SDG 4 Data Digest Partners: The Global Partnership for Education

By Élisé Wendlassida Miningou, Education Economist, and Ramya Vivekanandan, Senior Education Specialist, Global Partnership for Education (GPE)

Political leaders and policymakers the world over share one common challenge: relentless demands for resources. They have to make tough choices about resource allocation, particularly in countries that are most fragile and conflict-affected where the needs are vast and the available resources are constrained by numerous other priorities. It is hardly surprising that learning assessments may not be at the top of their ‘to do’ list.

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Focus on our SDG 4 Data Digest Partners: Early Childhood Education and the Offord Centre for Child Studies

By Magdalena Janus, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences (McMaster University), Offord Centre for Child Studies

The recent edition of the SDG 4 Data Digest illustrates the range of partners working alongside the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) to help countries produce and use assessment data to strengthen lifelong learning. This blog highlights one of these vital partners: the Offord Centre for Child Studies, and specifically Professor Magdalena Janus, who brought years of expertise to the Digest’s analysis on early childhood development (ECD). Here, Magdalena shares her thoughts on the critical importance of measuring early learning.

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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