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SDG 4 Data Digest: Data to Nurture Learning

This report was originally published by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS).

Education is one of a nation’s greatest assets and the foundation for strong and peaceful societies. However, illiteracy and low educational achievement are persistent challenges for many developing countries, for international agencies, for global educational programmes and for the achievement of the world’s education goals.

In 2015, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set out new ambitions for education, with SDG 4 requiring a quality education from pre-primary to upper secondary level of education for every child by 2030. The global commitment to improving education captured in SDG 4 aims to address an educational crisis, with more than 617 million children and adolescents unable to read a simple sentence or handle a basic math calculation. Today, we are faced with three major issues: there are many children who are still out of school and who have little chance of acquiring basic skills in reading and mathematics; there are children who are enrolled in school but at risk of leaving before they gain these skills; and the continuing and pervasive problem of poor quality education.

Today, we are faced with three major issues: there are many children who are still out of school and who have little chance of acquiring basic skills in reading and mathematics; there are children who are enrolled in school but at risk of leaving before they gain these skills; and the continuing and pervasive problem of poor quality education. This is why SDG 4 includes targets to ensure improvements in the quality of teaching, the inclusion of skills for a modern and increasingly digital society and ensuring that children and youth are not only in the classroom but also learning. 

As this report shows, we do not need to create entirely-new monitoring mechanisms: we can build on what is already in place. For example, we are making great strides towards reporting on Indicator 4.1.1 on the proportion of children and young people at three different stages of their education who have a minimum proficiency level in reading and mathematics, thanks to existing national, regional and cross-national assessments. Through the Global Alliance to Monitor Learning (GAML), we are working with countries, assessment agencies, donors and civil society groups to take a harmonised approach to data collection, setting benchmarks and enhancing quality control to ensure the effective use of results to improve learning.

In this year's SDG 4 Data Digest: Data to Nurture Learning report, the role of Uwezoa ‘citizen movement based’ approach to assessing literacy and numeracy levels in East Africa,  has been profiled to show its contribution on revealing and amplifying that a core message that“schooling is not the same as learning“ since 2009. 

To find out more on this read the full report here.

Read more: learning outcomes

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