Before going into specific aspects of data collection, it is important to first understand the purpose of conducting a school census. Relevant and reliable data are needed to support decision-making, planning, management, monitoring and evaluation at all levels of the education system. As Figure 1 shows, education officers at different levels of the education system have different needs and uses for data.
- Education officers at the central (or national) level need data from all the schools in order to make policies, plans and strategies for the entire national education system.
- Education officers at the provincial level utilize data to improve the monitoring, coordination and management of education in schools in their area of authority.
- School managers and district education officers use detailed data from school records management systems to manage daily operations within a school or for groups of schools in a district or local area.
It is important to realize that, while people at different levels of the education administration system do have different needs and uses for data, there are certain core data that must be available to all. These essential data are necessary to ensure consistency in planning and management across the national education system.
in Module A1, we learned about the tools and techniques for systematically recording data in schools. in this module, we will review the roles of school managers and education officers at district, provincial and central levels in the collection of data during annual school censuses, using the data from school records. The emphasis is on developing the practical knowledge and skills that each person needs in order to contribute to such data collection.
With reference to Figure 1, please consider your role and functions and the types of data you need, and then answer the following questions:
- What are your role and functions within the education system?
- What type(s) of data do you need in your job? Please give examples.
- How do you go about getting the data you need?
- Have you have ever participated in a school census? if yes, what kind of difficulties have you experienced in responding to school censuses or using the data?