Starting this week, the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) will be hosting a series of webinars, working with Member States in the important process of collecting data to inform Sustainable Development Goal 4 for education (SDG 4). According to the SDG 4 - Education 2030 Framework for Action the UIS is the official source of cross-nationally comparable data on education, and the Survey of Formal Education is a key part of fulfilling this mandate.  

The UIS has created webinars for each of the survey questionnaires to provide guidance to Member States and to ensure that the resulting data is of high quality. 

Topics covered in the webinars: 

  • Overview of the UIS Survey of Formal Education 
  • Overview of UIS core system of indicators 
  • Benchmarking for SDG 4 indicators at the regional level 
  • Questionnaire ISC11: National Education Systems 
  • Questionnaire A: ISCED 0-4, students, teachers and school resources 
  • Questionnaire B: ISCED 0-8, educational expenditure  
  • Questionnaire C:  ISCED 5-8, students and teachers in tertiary education

Webinar schedule:


The data collected in the Survey of Formal Education give Member States, international organizations, donor agencies and academia the tools to monitor progress toward SDG 4 while further providing Member States with the evidence to inform national education policy decision making. 

The survey also collects internationally comparable data on key aspects of education systems, such as structure and characteristics, access, participation, progression and completion, school resources and the associated human and financial resources dedicated to them. 

This year, the scope of the Survey of Formal Education will reflect the UIS core system of indicators introduced in our September data release.  

Key dates for the survey in 2021: 

  • February: Deadline to submit data for non-finance data 
  • March: first formal reminder 
  • April: last deadline for education finance data 
  • May: second formal reminder 

To ensure that the collected data is high quality and comparable across countries, the UIS has put in place strong protocols such as consistency checks and internal reviews prior to dissemination. To do this, the UIS works with Member States so that data are reported according to International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED 2011 and ISCED-F 2013). We also use a common source of data for population and economic data and the same methodology for calculating indicators for all countries.  

Further, the UIS follows up with respondents should survey answers require clarification. Examples of potential inconsistencies include different data values in different parts of the questionnaire, different totals across the questionnaire for the same data, or reported data totals that do not match the sum of disaggregated data (by age, by sector, by grade, by sex). 

The data collected in the Survey of Formal Education are used in several flagship international reports-including: