Leading the agenda for data production to monitor #education 2030 #SDG4

Monitoring progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) on education requires more and better quality data, according to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS). The UIS is launching two new tools to kick-start this process: an eAtlas mapping out the currently available global education indicators, and a Digest that sets out a roadmap to improve the measuring of education quality and equity. These new data products are the latest in a set of UIS initiatives to address the gaps in the education monitoring agenda.

SDG 4 is an ambitious goal, seeking to improve learning and skills from early childhood to adulthood. This will require new and improved data 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 half of the data needed to monitor progress based on SDG 4 global education indicators.

Launched by the UIS, the eAtlas presents the education indicators currently available for the global and thematic monitoring of SDG 4. Through a ground-breaking series of interactive maps for each of the SDG 4 targets, it pools together a wide range of data sources about access to education, the quality of the education on offer and learning outcomes. The eAtlas is designed to become the go-to source for SDG education data: a place to get the indicators quickly, confident that they are the best and most up-to-date.

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.

The eAtlas also shows the extent to which more and better data are needed urgently. So the UIS is releasing a new report, the first edition of the UIS Sustainable Development Data Digest, which offers a practical roadmap to develop the key indicators needed to monitor progress towards SDG 4 – Education 2030.

For example, equity is the central feature of SDG 4 and the pledge to ensure everyone’s right to education, including the most marginalized groups. Yet according to the Digest, only 14% of the global monitoring indicators can be disaggregated by wealth and only 19% by disability status.  

“We aim to revolutionize the production and use of education data,” says UIS Director Silvia Montoya. “For example, more than half of the world’s countries have data on reading and math skills of children but the results cannot be compared internationally. So we are working with partners to put in place methodologies and standards to transform data into information that countries can use to tackle their own needs while monitoring global progress towards SDG 4. Together, the Digest and the eAtlas are critical tools in this process..

The first edition of the Digest, Laying the Foundation to Measure Sustainable Development Goal 4, finds that many countries struggle to produce the data needed today, and will find it even harder to It focuses specifically on areas that are difficult to measure, such as education quality, learning, equity and inclusion. The Digest highlights, for example, 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), sex and disability status.

The UIS is leading several initiatives in close collaboration with partners to identify and close data gaps and the UIS Digest makes a case for a stronger commitment to achieve key SDG education targets.

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