Rethinking Education Post-Coronavirus: Lessons from Spain to Avoid Widening the Socioeconomic Achievement Gap

By Ana Capilla, Organización de Estados Iberoamericanos (OEI) and UFV;
Jorge Sainz, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos (URJC), Madrid (Spain) and IPR (University of Bath, UK); and Ismael Sanz, URJC, Madrid (Spain)

In a recent post, UNESCO reminded us of the similarity between the learning challenges that fourteenth century societies confronted during the Black Death and the current COVID-19 pandemic. Back then, as William Courtenay remembers, the plague helped develop new ways of teaching and the beginning of the substitution of Latin with popular languages as vehicles to communicate science. Just as that global pandemic marked the beginning of a new world in education, so could the current one if policymakers respond thoughtfully to this education crisis.

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Nurturing Education at Home in the Midst of a Health Crisis: How SDG Indicator 4.2.3 can Help Guide Where More Support is Needed

By Silvia Montoya, Director, UNESCO Institute for Statistics

In the midst of this global health crisis that threatens lives and containment measures that threaten our ways of living, we are faced with the stark reality that the world we return to will be forever altered. The far-reaching consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic may also jeopardize the hard won gains made in improving global education. 

The country statistics data collected and housed at the UIS has proved crucial in this time of crisis to help us estimate the global scope of the pandemic’s impact on education due to massive school closures. Given the importance of education as the foundation for all development, we must strive to safeguard learning at all ages. Thus, as a response, UNESCO has launched the Global Education Coalition in an attempt to support learning in the home as this becomes the new normal.

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Where Are All the Women in Science and Research?

By Rohan Pathirage, R&D statistician for the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS)

On the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, you could be forgiven for asking: just where are all these women and girls? They are there if you look but they remain the exception at the very highest echelons in science and research. Their rarity may even – on occasion – obscure the critical value of their work. From Marie Curie to Rosalind Franklin, women scientists have often been viewed in terms of their relationships to their male counterparts.

A simple web search on female scientists will yield lists of the ‘17 Famous Female Scientists Who Helped Change the World’ or ‘10 Women in Science and Tech Who Should be Household Names’. But search for ‘the most famous male scientists today and the lists talk about the most ‘influential’ scientists, ‘the top 10 greatest scientists’ – with no mention of the word ‘male’. It simply isn’t noteworthy. Continue reading

Benchmarks: Using Data to Set Evidence-based Targets to Improve Learning Proficiency

By Martin Gustafsson, Research on Socio-Economic Policy (ReSEP), University of Stellenbosch

In a recent blog, the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) and the Global Education Monitoring Report explored how benchmarks can be used to  accelerate progress towards SDG 4.  To further these discussions, the UIS has released a new report, entitled Evidence-based Projections and Benchmarks for SDG Indicator 4.1.1, which focuses on how countries can use existing data to set develop projections and benchmarks for the percentage of children reaching minimum proficiency levels in reading and mathematics. Continue reading

Our New Year’s resolution for 2020: Let Data Be Our Guide

By Dankert Vedeler, Chair of the Governing Board of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS), and Advisor to the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research / Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The countdown has begun, with just a decade to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal on education (SDG 4): a quality education for all. After so many years devoted to education at the national and international levels, my resolution for 2020 is simple: Let data be your guide. Continue reading

With the Right Data, We Can Still Reach the World’s Education Goal

By Silvia Montoya, Director, UNESCO Institute for Statistics

SDG 4 Data Digest 2019 explores the data methodologies needed to track progress and better direct policies and resources

It is not too late to reach the world’s education goal. At least, not yet. In 2015, United Nations Member States promised to reach Sustainable Development Goal 4 – a quality education for all – by 2030. We are now one-third of the way through the timeframe for its achievement, and it is still possible – just about – to meet the deadline. But without accurate, current and comparable data on education, and without a shift from ‘business as usual’ approaches to the provision and quality of education, the goal could soon be beyond our grasp.

Today, around 258 million children are out of school, according to data from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS). If we continue on our current trajectory, one in every six children aged 6 to 17 will still be out of school in 2030 and only six out of ten youth will complete secondary education.

Our data also show that being in school is not enough to guarantee a quality education. According to our estimates, 55% of children and adolescents of primary and lower secondary school age are not achieving minimum proficiency levels in reading and 60% are not reaching these levels in mathematics. Continue reading

Making Disability Visible: How to Generate More and Better Data on Education for Children with Disabilities

By Friedrich Huebler, Head of Education Standards and Methodology at the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS), and Stuart Cameron, Thematic Lead on Equity and Inclusion, Global Partnership for Education (GPE)

Two new data resources launched today focus on people with disabilities who are so often disadvantaged and ‘invisible’ when it comes to education. Excluded and uncounted, they are often missing not only from the world’s classrooms, but also from education data. Continue reading

Wanted: The Best Teacher for Every Class

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

Tracking progress on teacher training is vital to progress towards SDG 4

It could be a classroom in the heart of Tokyo or New York. It could be deep in the Amazon rainforest, the mountains of Bhutan or in the townships of Johannesburg. But wherever the classroom, much of its success relies the teacher.

Ideally, this teacher has been properly trained, and has every skill they need to inspire and enthuse their pupils. And ideally, they will teach generation after generation of children, becoming one of the teachers people remember with gratitude for the rest of their lives.

This vision will be celebrated on 5 October, when World Teachers’ Day focuses on the world’s young teachers, exploring ways to attract and keep the brightest minds and young talents. Here at the UNESCO Institute of Statistics (UIS), we see effective reporting on teacher training as a vital part of this process. Its importance has also been recognized in the SDG 4 monitoring framework: Indicator 4.c.1 requires data on the proportion of teachers in pre-primary right through to upper secondary education who have received at least the minimum amount of formal teacher training, whether pre-service or in service, to do their job. Continue reading

Are the Education Goals Out of Reach?

By Silvia Montoya, Director, UNESCO Institute for Statistics, and Robert Jenkins, Chief, Education and Associate Director, Programme Division, UNICEF

New data from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics confirm the need for accelerated efforts to get every child in school and learning

Education matters. It stands for the hopes and dreams of many children around the world. Education paves the way towards more productive, healthier, sustainable and resilient societies in which children can reach their full potential. However, new data from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) confirm that the situation of out-of-school children has stalled without significant improvement over the last ten years. In 2018, one in six or more than 258 million children, adolescents and youth were denied the right to education. Continue reading

Learning in Your Own Language: Vital for the World’s Literacy Goals

By Friedrich Huebler, Head of Education Standards and Methodology, UNESCO Institute for Statistics

This year’s International Literacy Day celebrates multilingual education

It is your very first day at school. You’re excited. Perhaps even a little nervous? What is this special day going to bring? Above all, what will you learn?

Your teacher arrives and says hello. But after that, you struggle to understand what she is saying. It is not because you’re stupid – you’re smart. It is because she is not talking in the language you use at home, with your family or when you are playing with your friends. So you mimic the other children around you, opening the books when they do, turning the pages when they do. But it seems that that this day is not going to be so special after all. Continue reading