International Women’s Day: Why We Need to Connect Data and Advocacy to Achieve Gender Equality

By Alison Holder, Director of Equal Measures 2030, and Silvia Montoya, Director of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics

On International Women’s Day, social media channels light up with a flurry of messages and infographics about gender equality. While we welcome this spotlight on data, we also need to look beyond the moment and focus on how we can use the information to bring real change to the lives of women and girls around the world. Continue reading

50 Years of International Literacy Day: Time to Develop New Literacy Data

Silvia Montoya, Director of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics

Today marks the 50th anniversary of International Literacy Day. This year’s Day, under the banner of ‘Reading the Past, Writing the Future’, honours five decades of global progress on literacy rates. It also explores innovative ways to expand literacy in the future: a global promise set out in Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) on education. Target 4.6 aims to ensure that all youth and most adults achieve literacy and numeracy by 2030.

According to new baseline data for Target 4.6 from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS), the world has come a long way over the past 50 years and there is much to celebrate. The latest data, presented in a fact sheet and illustrated in the UNESCO eAtlas of Literacy, show remarkable progress on youth literacy. Continue reading

Missing from School: The Education Challenge in sub-Saharan Africa

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

With the Eurozone in turmoil and sluggish economic growth in the US and elsewhere, investors may well see sub-Saharan Africa – still one of the fastest growing regional economies on earth – as the new frontier. While the region’s economic growth has slowed, falling from 4.5% in 2014 to 3% in 2015, it continues to outpace growth in many of the world’s most advanced economies. However, as the World Bank has noted, the region faces major economic headwinds, from disparities and poverty to falling commodity prices. Continue reading

The eAtlas for Education 2030 – Global and Thematic Indicators at Your Fingertips

Silvia Montoya, Director of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics

Our recent blogs have focused on the difficulties of trying to gather robust and internationally-comparable data on education, with policymakers, researchers and citizens struggling to make sense of conflicting numbers from multiple data sources, or trying to find any numbers at all. For non-statisticians, the data picture is blurry, at best. Various blogs have argued that the lack of data is a real stumbling block to the pursuit of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 on education and the Education 2030 Framework for Action. The good news is that things are about to get a lot easier.   Continue reading

We Have a Heavy Workload: 263 Million Children and Youth Are Out of School

Silvia Montoya, Director of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, and Aaron Benavot, Director of the Global Education Monitoring Report

We have known for years that there are far too many primary-age children out of school: the stagnating numbers have been there for all to see. Far less has been known about the numbers of secondary-age adolescents and youth out of school, and in particular those of upper secondary school age who are – or should be – on the brink of a productive adult life. The numbers are out today, and they are every bit as alarming as we feared they would be.

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