A few weeks ago the importance of assessing the impact of education policy was raised along with the need for a comprehensive system that would permit the effective sharing of information to inform future developments.
In March 2017 the UNESCO Institute for Statistics produced an interesting paper called the Data Revolution in Education. The paper asserts, “Several critical gaps are plaguing the current international monitoring dashboard. Some parts of the education system are not well covered. Some populations are excluded and, finally, some aspects of education simply do not have a source of data”. Some of the missing groups include children who are refugees or internally displaced people, children with disabilities or are affected by armed conflicts.
At the time of the paper, UNHCR estimated there to be 19.5 million refugees and 32.3 million internally displaced children with just above half of the refugees being under the age of 18 and therefore affecting their education. To add to the challenge, there are often a number of agencies involved in providing support with currently more than 50 in Syria, a wide range of school attendance policies and a number of children constantly on the move.
‘”Only one-half of the 202 countries and territories covered by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) were able to provide data for total government expenditure on education at least once in the 2012-14 period.” If the effective monitoring of Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4) to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all is to be monitored for effectiveness, this is a significant issue. The paper calls for “the need for a global compact to ensure sustainable, inclusive, transparent and participatory and technically robust monitoring of SDG4” that includes a programme to improve data literacy, sustainable financing to strengthen global statistical capacity and a global collective commitment to collaboration.
Last month, UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UNIS) invited technical experts from regional and international learning assessment organisations to a Cross-National Assessment Meeting hosted by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA). Discussions focused on how to resolve the measurement issues to “improve the coverage and comparability of data needed to produce SDG4 indicator 4.1.1” which relates to the proportion of young people achievement at certain stages of their educational journey.
The importance of effective data analysis and the use of the outcomes to inform policy and sustainable change cannot be overstated. However, this can be compromised. If robust mechanisms and operating frameworks are not in place, it is difficult to see how the impact of the strategies implemented to achieve SDG4 can be accurately measured. Let’s hope that suggestions for a specific task force responsible for reliable education data for refugees and displaced peoples and their support systems are adopted.
Shepperson & Shepperson Consultants LTD
Lesley Shepperson/ www.zongonews.com / firstname.lastname@example.org