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

What Do You Want from the New Global Education Data Portal?

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

Make your voice heard via an online consultation about the new Global Education Data Portal (GEDP), which is being developed by the UNESCO Institute of Statistics (UIS). It will be a unique resource centered on the needs of its users, a one-stop shop for the best possible data on education. Continue reading

Meet the SDG 4 Data: Promoting Sustainable Development

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

SDG 4 indicator 4.7.1 reflects the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development

So far, this series of blogs on the data needed to monitor progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) on education has focused predominantly on indicators that explore educational outcomes and achievements for individuals, and the components that must be in place to ensure a quality education for all.  But when we come to Target 7, we see a marked shift in perspective.

Target 7 takes a sweeping look at education and the wider world: By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development.
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From Brain Drain to Gain: The Benefits Arising from International Knowledge Networks

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

Thinking about studying abroad next year or know someone who is? You’re not alone. International student mobility is on the rise and data show that everyone benefits. Rather than depriving developing countries of their best talent through ‘brain drain,’ mobile students are offering ‘brain gain’ by creating a global pool of highly-skilled human capital. Continue reading

Meet the SDG 4 Data: Measuring Youth and Adult Literacy and Numeracy

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

SDG 4 indicator 4.6.1 shows the proportion of youth and adults with functional literacy and numeracy skills

Taken together, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide a ‘recipe’ for countries to be productive and prosperous, resulting in populations that are well-educated and well-equipped for employment in the 21st century.

We have already discussed some of the challenges to this vision in this series of blogs on the data for Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) on a quality education and lifelong learning for all. Our blog on SDG 4 indicator 4.4.1, in particular, has stressed the importance of information and communications technology (ICT) skills in an increasingly digital world. But above all, we need to be able to read, write and handle basic calculations.

As things stand, however, we face a global learning crisis that threatens the achievement not only of SDG 4, but also every other goal, from poverty reduction to the enhancement of development partnerships. The UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) rang the alarm bells last September with the most recent data on learning, revealing that 617 million children and adolescents worldwide – six out of ten – are not reaching minimum proficiency levels in reading and mathematics. Continue reading

The Learning Crisis is Causing a Skills Crisis. Here’s Why

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

Skill development is a critical part of preparing for work in the future – even for jobs that do not yet exist. It goes without saying that a child who cannot read, write or perform at least simple mathematics with proficiency will be poorly equipped as an adult to excel in the technology-driven industries of the future.

Next week, two very different – but powerful – groups will be grappling with the ways in which the global learning crisis is in fact a skills crisis threatening the prospects of current generations and those to come. In Geneva at the Global Shapers Annual Summit, about 400 “change-makers” under the age of 30 will be exchanging ways to address the needs of their communities while striving to have a global impact. Just days later, education ministers from G20 countries will meet in Argentina, where the question on everyone’s mind will be: how do we prepare our children and youth for the future? Continue reading

Meet the SDG 4 Data: Equal Access to All Levels of Education and Training for the Most Vulnerable People

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

Learn about the parity indices used to monitor progress towards Target 4.5, which aims to eliminate inequalities in education.

This series of blogs on the indicators for Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) on education has been careful not to single out any single indicator as being more important than any other. Indeed, if we are to reach SDG 4 – quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for everybody – we have to see all the indicators, from free primary schooling to the availability of qualified teachers, as indivisible.

Yet when we examine SDG Target 4.5 on eliminating disparities in education, we find ourselves at the very heart of the SDG vision. A common thread runs through every SDG goal, target and indicator. That thread is equity, backed by strong determination to ensure that nobody is left behind. SDG Target 4.5 stands squarely at the intersection between this vision and the measurement of its achievement.

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