UNESCO Report on the Data Revolution in Education

The Data Revolution in Education, produced by the Unesco Insitute for Statistics as a background paper for the Education Commission, includes a set of recommendations for producing and disseminating high-quality education statistics for planning and monitoring progress toward education targets.

The report calls for changes across three broad areas that address both the supply and demand sides of national education information systems.

Enabling environment: National statistical organizations require an enabling environment underwritten by more funding, investments in technology and skilled personnel, and greater efforts to overcome the fragmentation of education data and evidence sector across government agencies.

Data production: The new education goal calls for data that countries may not be collecting on a regular basis or according to international standards. The UIS report recommends that governments make a greater effort to integrate these norms and standards; agree on standards for collecting data for new areas of concern, such as learning outcomes; and tap into a broader range of data sources such as household surveys and citizen-led initiatives.

Data use and dissemination: Finally, the report recommends that governments and international organizations strengthen mechanisms for data dissemination and use. For example, adopting “open data” practices could improve the flow and end use of data and information.

This paper recommends a data revolution in education built on the foundation of national statistical systems, supported by international organizations in a global compact for monitoring the education SDG. In this compact, international organizations that serve UN Member States provide technical assistance, enhance coordination among stakeholders, and support the production of data as a global public good, thus reducing transaction costs for countries in pursuit of the goal of quality education for all.