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New data now available in the SDG 4 database contains information on over 200 countries, including: disaggregated data on the proportion of children and young people achieving at least a minimum proficiency level in reading and mathematics (Indicator 4.1.1); the participation rate in organized learning, one year before the official primary entry age (Indicator 4.2.2); the enrolment ratio for tertiary education (Indicator 4.3.2); and the participation rate of youth and adults in formal and non-formal education and training in the previous 12 months (Indicator 4.3.1) where 58 countries have been added for the first time.

In this release, the UIS is adding new administrative data from the UIS Survey of Formal Education and the UOE data collection for 128 countries. The UIS’ new approach to data collection, using dynamic templates to produce 23 indicators on students, teachers, schools, and education expenditure, has resulted in significant increases in data coverage for SDG 4 indicators (e.g., Indicator 4.1.4, completion rate) and for Other Policy Relevant Indicators (e.g., gross enrolment ratio).

For more information on this data release please refer to the Background Information on Statistics in the UIS Database.

The UIS continues to develop new ways to provide easy access to the data

The Global Education Observatory is a gateway to education data for the seven benchmark indicators, including interactive visualizations enabling user to view data by sex, region, and country. Data on COVID-19 are also available, as are links to other databases giving users access to a wide array of information from equity in education (WIDE), to SDG 4 indicators (SCOPE), and education levels (PEER/ISCED).

The SDG 4 Data Explorer provides data users with easy-to-navigate dashboards organized by country or SDG 4 indicator and the ability to download a long format database. In this release, two tabs have been added for regional averages and country profiles that include ISCED mappings.

UIS.Stat is a data portal which includes a broader education database with other policy relevant indicators.

UIS Bulk Data Download Service provides all UIS-produced indicators in CSV format.

Spotlight: Measuring preparedness for the future

Measuring children’s learning has never been more important. Following COVID-19-related school closures, the UIS/World Bank Learning Poverty indicator estimates that 70% of 10-year-olds in low- and middle-income countries may be unable to read a sentence with understanding. That is up from 57% in 2019. Currently, only 14% of low-and middle-income countries know how much learning has been lost due to COVID-19 school closures.

The September 2022 data release includes new data and regional averages on learning outcome indicators for:

  • Indicator 4.1.1, proportion of children and young people achieving at least a minimum proficiency level in reading and mathematics, from 2000 to 2022.
  • Indicator 4.1.2, completion rate, from 2000 to 2022 and available at https://education-estimates.org/completion/
  • Indicator 4.1.0, proportion of children/young people prepared for the future, from 2000 to 2020.

The 'prepared for the futureIndicator 4.1.0 combines the two global Indicators 4.1.2 and 4.1.1, and the current data released regional averages from 2000 to 2020 for the first time.

Based on the new estimates, a blog by the UIS and the Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report highlights that more than 600 million children and adolescents are currently not prepared for the future, mostly from sub-Saharan Africa (less than 10% prepared) and Central and Southern Asia.

More and better data can help countries assess students’ achievement against SDG Indicator 4.1.1 for minimum proficiencies in reading and mathematics, allowing them to meet children’s needs and plan a way forward. The paper on Country Options for Indicator 4.1.1 presented at the 38th Annual Conference for Educational Assessment in Africa, provides an overview of country options for reporting Indicator 4.1.1, the implications of each, and the benefits and costs of implementation. 

In July 2022, nine out of ten UNESCO Member States agreed to SDG 4 benchmarks for seven key indicators for 2025 and 2030 which include Indicators 4.1.1 and 4.1.2. However, even if these benchmark goals are met, the percentage of children and adolescents prepared for the future in 2030 will increase from 38% in 2020 to just 63% in 2030.

New data on out-of-school children

To understand the depth of the challenge, it is crucial to have better information on children that are out of school. The UIS Data Release provides the out-of-school rate (Indicator 4.1.4) for countries, from administrative sources and from household surveys separately, in a time series from 1990 to the latest year available.

In addition, the UIS and the GEM Report have developed a new methodology to harmonize information from Education Management Information Systems (EMIS) and Household Surveys, the two main data sources used to produce out-of-school rates. The new figures released on 1 September 2022, reveal that 244 million children were out of school in 2021. Data available on the VIEW website (education-estimates.org) include rates and numbers of out-of-school by country and by SDG regions. The new methodology is outlined in the joint Policy Paper / Fact Sheet.

UIS Data Refresh March 2023

The education data collected and produced by the UIS are the source for SDG 4 reporting by the UN and are also used in multiple external indices. The Millennium Challenge Corporation scorecard, for example, uses UIS data to track its indicators for primary education expenditure, and girls’ completion rates for both primary and secondary school. The data on government expenditure on primary education used to calculate this indicator are collected annually in the UIS Survey of Formal Education through Questionnaire B on Educational Expenditure. WIPO incorporates UIS data into its Innovation Index (among others); UIS data forms the basis of the UN Development Programme’s Human Development Index, the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report, and the UIS/World Bank jointly developed Learning Poverty indicator.

The UIS March 2023 Data Refresh takes into account late submissions or updates to the data collected from countries through the UIS 2022 Survey of Formal Education. To ensure inclusion, submissions must be made by 2 January 2023.