Leading the agenda for the production of data to monitor Education 2030 

With Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 4), the international community has pledged to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.” This will require tremendous efforts on the part of all stakeholders, notably governments, donors and international organizations.

As the agency mandated to produce the data needed to monitor progress, the UIS is taking the lead on a several fronts, in close consultation with partners, to develop the standards and methodologies to produce a new generation of education data with a specific focus on learning.

New and improved data and indicators are needed to monitor progress, identify bottlenecks and sharpen policies to ensure that every dollar invested in education makes a tangible difference to people’s lives. At present, however, the world gathers only around one-half of the data needed to monitor progress based on SDG 4 global education indicators.

The new UIS Sustainable Development Data Digest and UNESCO eAtlas for Education 2030 are the latest in a set of initiatives designed to address gaps in data and to coordinate expertise and thought leadership on the evolution of the current monitoring agenda. 

Sustainable Development Data Digest

Laying the Foundation to Measure Sustainable Development Goal 4  (also availabe as eBook) shows that many countries struggle to produce the data that are needed today and will find it even harder to gather the finely-tuned education data that are needed in the coming years, given the vast ambitions of the SDG agenda.

To address this challenge, the Digest presents a global strategy involving countries, UN agencies, donors and civil society groups to gather the necessary data and implement a new measurement framework.

It focuses specifically on areas that are difficult to measure, such as education quality, learning, equity and inclusion. The Digest highlights, for example, the ways in which parity indices can be used to track inequalities in education and learning among children and youth according to their socio-economic status, location (rural versus urban households), sex and disability status. 

The UIS is working closely with countries to identify data gaps, for example, and use a wider range of different data sources. This requires renewed commitment by governments and the UIS Digest argues that this commitment is essential for the achievement of key SDG education targets.

UNESCO eAtlas for Education 2030

A companion to the Digest, the eAtlas presents the education indicators currently available for the global and thematic monitoring of SDG 4. A series of interactive maps for each of the SDG 4 targets brings together a range of data sources covering access to education, the quality of the education on offer and learning outcomes.

The eAtlas provides a quick, accurate reference for SDG education data. With just a couple of clicks, it is possible to explore key issues, such as completion rates from primary to tertiary education, the percentage of children out of school, the amount spent on each pupil’s education, and the supply of qualified teachers. New education data will be added as they become available. 

UIS-led initiatives for the development of SDG education data and indicators

In addition to these data products, the UIS is working in close collaboration with partners on several initiatives targeting areas of the Education 2030 agenda where data are sparse: the Global Alliance to Monitor Learning (GAML), the Technical Cooperation Group on SDG 4–Education 2030 indicators (TCG) and the Inter-Agency Group on Education Inequality Indicators. These groups bring together global expertise and experience to set priorities, coordinate efforts and provide guidance to ensure that the new goal and targets can be measured and met.