At this initial stage of the 21st century, Education for All (EFA) has gained ground, becoming the foremost, major world thrust in education.
At the World Education Forum held in April 2000 in Dakar, Senegal, education policy-makers from all the countries together with representatives of relevant development agencies, NGOs, institutions and educationists jointly adopted the Dakar Framework for Action11 which aims at achieving the following six EFA goals by the year 2015:
- Expanding and improving comprehensive early childhood care and education, especially for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children.
- Ensuring that by 2015 all children, particularly girls, children in difficult circumstances and those belonging to ethnic minorities, have access to and complete free and compulsory primary education of good quality.
- Ensuring that the learning needs of all young people and adults are met through equitable access to appropriate learning and life skills programmes.
- Achieving a 50percent improvement in levels of adult literacy by 2015, especially for women,and equitable access to basic and continuing education for all adults.
- Eliminating gender disparities in primary and secondary education by 2005, and achieving gender equality in education by 2015, with a focus on ensuring girls’ full and equal access to and achievement in basic education of good quality.
- Improving all aspects of the quality of education and ensuring excellence of all so that recognized and measurable learning outcomes are achieved by all, especially in literacy, numeracy and essential life skills.
In essence, these EFA goals are about ensuring full access and participation of all eligible persons in basic education of good quality so that they can acquire literacy and life skills for a decent living and learning throughout life. The EFA goals place special emphasis on helping disadvantaged pop- ulations such as girls and children of poor families, ethnic, linguistic and religious minorities, those in remote areas, with disabilities, and from other vulnerable population groups to fully participate in and benefit from education, under the priority of ‘Reaching the Unreached’.2
Information key to Education for All and All for Education
Education for All cannot be successfully achieved unless there is All for Education. Commitments of all the stakeholders down to the local, school and grass-root level are needed. This relates to the need on the one hand to mobilize actions of local schools and communities to identify the illiterates, out-of-school children and people with learning needs, as well as to implement effective
strategies and measures to help them to fully participate in education and learning. It has been understood that closer involvement of local stakeholders can greatly help the schools to ensure the quality of teaching/learning processes and learning outcomes.
Parents and community people increasingly want to know what is happening in the schools. There is now widespread awareness about the need for transparency and accountability within the edu- cation system. More systematic collection, dissemination and use of information on EFA will be key to informing the stakeholders at all levels in order to mobilize their active participation and support. More relevant and reliable data and indicators are needed to help raise consciousness and generate actions at the policy level and within local communities and schools. Capacities to systematically record, analyse, share and use data and information at all levels of the education administration, when strengthened, can help to more effectively identify bottlenecks, problems and issues in EFA, and make sound evidence-based decisions to address them.
At the same time, it has been realized that a wide range of data have been and can be collected for use in monitoring progress towards all six goals of EFA. Practically all countries have established mechanisms to systematically collect data from primary and secondary schools every year. Efforts are being made to gather data from early childhood care and education centers, and regarding adult literacy and non-formal education programmes. Many such data collection systems will have to be further upgraded to gather and disseminate more and better data for monitoring the six EFA goals. Referring to EFA Goal 5, efforts must be made to systematically collect gender-disaggregated data and produce indicators to monitor and promote gender equality in education.
A key lesson learnt during the past decades gives priority to strengthening education information management capacities especially at local and school levels, as these constitute the main source of data on education and at the same time the agents which can take direct actions to achieve the EFA goals in the local areas. Wider dissemination and more frequent use of data and information at all levels and by all stakeholders in support to informed decision-making and promoting understand- ing and participation are equally important.
Education Management Information System (EMIS)
Since the mid-1980s, many countries have developed EMIS (Education Management Information System). Most of them operate nowadays computerized EMIS databases to process the data and to use them in support to policy-making, planning, monitoring and management of education. Moni- toring the six EFA goals especially those regarding early childhood care and education, literacy and continuing basic education, equity and quality of education is placing additional demands on the type of data to be collected from the educational institutions and homes, and how best to collect and use them. Appropriate adjustments to the ways and means for data collection will be needed.
Experiences of the past have demonstrated that priority will have to be given to systematizing the collection, recording and use of data at the source, i.e. at the school. It is only when all schools regularly maintain and make use of data, that the completeness, reliability and consistency of data at district, provincial and national levels can be guaranteed. Systematic recording and use of data and information at school can be crucial to improving school management as well as to mobilizing
ocal community support. The effectiveness of EFA monitoring and of subsequent actions depends to a large extent on the schools, particularly on their capacity to maintain and use quality data and information. Special attention will therefore have to be given to promoting capacity building in systematic EFA monitoring particularly at the local and school levels.
The design and operations of computerized EMIS databases are also undergoing major changes. Internet web-based EMIS systems are being introduced in order for the schools which have access to the internet to directly enter data into EMIS forms online, and for the data to be immediately checked, processed, stored and used in calculating indicators, analysis and rapid feedback to the schools and local education offices. Use of the internet in disseminating information to both school managers as well as the general public is reinforcing transparency and accountability within the education system.
Population Censuses and Household Surveys
In parallel, national population censuses and household surveys constitute another main source of data for monitoring EFA (see Diagram 1). Such demographic censuses and surveys periodically collect data from households on:
- Population especially school-age and school-entrance age population
- Literate and illiterate population
- Education attainment of the population
- Access to school and school attendance
- Ethnic, linguistic and religious profile of the population
- Disabled persons
- Employment and occupation
- Family income and poverty
Data on school-age and school-entrance age population are necessary for calculating enrolment ratios and intake rates. Data on the adult population can be used to derive literacy rates and per- centage distribution of the population by highest level of education attained. Data collected on school attendance during household surveys like the MICS (Multiple Indicators Cluster Surveys),
LSMS (Living Standard Measurement Surveys) and DHS (Demographic and Health Surveys) can lead to the calculation of school attendance rates and other education indicators which comple- ment the enrolment ratio, repetition rate and dropout rate.
For reaching the unreached under EFA, the most useful data from population censuses and house- hold surveys are those regarding the numbers, characteristics and location of disadvantaged popu- lation groups such as girls and women, ethnic, linguistic and religious minorities, the disabled, and the poor. These data when reviewed together with those on literates and illiterates, educational attainment and school attendance can help to identify who and where are those persons who do not benefit from education, for more effectively targeting priority EFA actions taking into account their conditions and constraints.
Much of these data from population censuses and household surveys can be used on the one hand to monitor aspects and goals of EFA which cannot be assessed through EMIS data from the schools, such as EFA goals number 3 and 4 on respectively lifelong learning and literacy, and on the other hand to supplement school data by identifying the out-of-school children and relating people’s participation in learning to household and family characteristics in order to find patterns, factors and solutions.
As national statistical offices continue to carry out national population censuses and household surveys, the data sets are becoming increasingly available. It will be crucial to access them and to fully analysis the education data collected from the households. When fully utilized, these two main sources of education data together can contribute to a much more comprehensive and solid monitoring of EFA.
As the world approaches the EFA target year of 2015, efforts to monitor EFA are expected to inten- sify in the coming years in order to implement further actions to achieve the EFA goals. The present training modules aim at accompanying this process by strengthening education information man- agement capacities at all levels and particularly at decentralized levels of the education administra- tion, and spreading the practices of systematic analysis, dissemination and use of education data which have been collected through both EMIS and population censuses and household surveys.
How these training modules are designed
These training modules have been designed for use in strengthening capacities to monitor EFA among: (a) Education administrators at all levels and school managers on how to better record, col- lect, analyse, disseminate and use school data; (b) Education researchers, analysts and administra- tors on how to access, analyse and make full use of education data from population censuses and household surveys using statistical software/package. Two series of modules have been compiled with the Modules A1 to A5 addressing the needs of target group (a), and the Modules B1 to B5 catering to target group (b). Together they respond to the need to reliably produce and meaning- fully use a basic set of EFA monitor indicators.
A wide range of indicators have been identified and recommended for use in monitoring the six EFA goals. They constitute a comprehensive EFA monitoring indicators system that can be applied by different countries according to their specific situation, priorities and needs. For the purpose of strengthening EFA monitoring capacities, the present training modules focus on a ‘core’ set of 55 indicators as shown in the table below:
The ‘H’ in the second column of the table above identifies those EFA indicators that can be derived using data from household surveys; and the ‘S’ in the third column points to EFA indicators to be calculated using school data. They indicate the respective focuses of the two series of training mod- ules A1-A5 and B1-B5. The ‘(H)’ and ‘(S)’ denote those EFA indicators which can be derived if data are collected using either channels of data collection. For example under Goal 1 related to ECCE, the ‘(S)’ points to those EFA indicators that can be produced if relevant data have been collected from ECCE centres. The same applies to the ‘(S)’ under Goals 3 and 4 when data are available from literacy and non-formal education centres.
How to use these training modules
As there are thousands if not millions of education administrators, researchers, school managers and personnel in different countries, these training modules are mainly designed to be used in self- learning. Specific parts can also be extracted and adapted for use in organizing and conducting training in groups and workshops. For example, appropriate parts of Modules A1-A5 may be incor- porated into pre-service and in-service training programmes for school teachers and head-teach- ers, and into training courses in education planning and management for education administrators. Besides being used in training education administrators, researchers and analysts, the contents and approach adopted in Modules B1-B5 are also suitable for university courses on education research and analysis. It is recommended to also upload these training modules into the internet for direct interactive e-learning online.
The Modules A1-A5 and B1-B5 are structured following operational sequences, but each module can be used as an independent learning unit. Attention has been given to include a maximum number of cross-references. Depending on the profile and need of the learners, they can choose to focus on one or more specific modules, and follow the cross-references to access relevant elements and explanations in the other modules.
The training modules therefore try to incorporate as many examples and cases as possible, together with practical tips, do’s and don’ts, activities, Q&A, and glossaries. A special effort has been made to identify and facilitate access to a maximum number of relevant references in the footnotes and the ‘Further Studies’ section at the end of each Module, for the learners to further broaden and deepen their understanding, knowledge and skills. To help to assess the learning outcomes, the learners are given the opportunity of doing a small quiz at the end of each modules, right before the section on ‘Further Studies’. Countries are encouraged to translate and upload these training modules into the internet as well.
It is suggested that the first-time learners follow the sections in each module in the order they are presented, and refer to the cross-references to the Glossary, other sections or modules, and/or addi- tional references in the footnotes and ‘Further studies’, before returning to continue the current sec- tion of the module under study. The activities and Q&A at the end of the sections help the learners to contextualize what has been learned into their own environment and conditions, and to consoli- date and internalize the learning. After having completed each module, the learners can attempt
to respond to the quiz to assess learning outcomes. Unsatisfactory response to specific question(s) in the quiz may indicate inadequacies in understanding. Please re-read the corresponding section and additional references if needed, before re-taking and passing the quiz.
All persons using these training modules are encouraged to freely contribute comments and suggestions to further improve them for the benefit of other learners. Please do not hesitate to point out errors, omissions and inappropriate elements. If possible, please suggest appropriate correc- tions and further improvements. Concrete examples, experiences, cases, stories, tools and ideas for use in enriching these modules will also be most welcome. All such contributions may please be sent by email or mail to:
UNESCO Bangkok 920 Sukhumvit Road Bangkok 10110 Thailand