The kids are not completing

Why completion rates should be part of the SDG global indicator framework

By Silvia Montoya, Director of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, and Manos Antoninis, Director of the Global Education Monitoring Report

The clock is ticking, with just over a decade to ensure that every child, adolescent and youth completes primary and secondary education of quality.

The good news is that the global primary completion rate has been steadily rising from 70% in 2000 to an estimated 84% in 2018. If current trends continue, the rate will reach 89% by 2030, according to recent projections by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) and the Global Education Monitoring Report (GEMR), and 93% allowing for those who are going to complete primary school very late. By accelerating this rate of growth, we can still achieve universal primary completion by 2030.

Figure 1. Upper secondary completion rates, 2000-2018, and projections to 2030


Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for secondary education (see Figure 1). Without a major transformation in education, only six in ten young people will be completing secondary school in 2030.

While our projections sent a shockwave throughout the international community, we must keep up the pressure by regularly reporting on education completion at the global, regional and country levels.

This is why the UIS, as custodian agency for SDG 4 data, has proposed that the Inter-agency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators (IAEG-SDGs) include completion rates within the global monitoring framework with the aim of offering a more informed view of progress towards target 4.1. This proposal was based on consultation with the Technical Cooperation Group on the Indicator for SDG 4 (TCG) in 2017.

There are several reasons for the proposal. By raising the profile of the indicator, we can highlight the urgency for action across the UN system. For example, as a global monitoring indicator, completion rates would be included in the annual SDG progress reports. Accordingly, the recent meeting of the TCG in Yerevan, Armenia, endorsed the completion rate as one of the indicators for which to define reference points for progress at the global and regional level.

The Technical Cooperation Group has also requested available data to be used more efficiently to calculate the completion rate. This will build on the lessons learned from other flagship indicators that rely on multiple sources, such as child mortality rates.

Critically, we can combine the completion rate with learning outcome indicators to offer a more comprehensive and accurate perspective on progress towards target 4.1, as shown in a new UIS paper. Continue reading

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Mapping girls’ right to an education

By Rolla Moumne, UNESCO Education Sector

UNESCO’s Her Education Rights Atlas (HER Atlas) is designed to measure the degree of protection of girls’ and women’s education rights in national legal frameworks. Her Atlas was launched at the G7 France/UNESCO international conference on girls’ education in July and is part of UNESCO’s ‘Her education, our future’ Initiative. We feature some of its findings today on International Day of the Girl Child. The Atlas provides the latest information on the status of girls’ and women’s right to education in countries’ constitutions, legislation and regulations, serving as a strong monitoring and advocacy tool.

More than 70 years after the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the right to education is still not realized for many girls and women worldwide.

Finding 1: Only 44% of all States enshrine the right to education within their constitution without discrimination based on sex or gender

day of the girl blogDespite numerous reaffirmations by the international community of its strong commitment to achieve gender equality in education and the considerable progress in recent decades, poverty, pregnancy, early marriage, gender-based violence and traditional attitudes are among the many obstacles that stand in the way of girls and women fully exercising their right to participate in, complete and benefit from education. Continue reading

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The latest facts and statistics on teachers

teachers dayTo mark World Teachers’ Day, we have partnered with the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) and the International Task Force on Teachers for Education 2030 to pull together key facts and statistics on challenges for teachers around the world.

The new factsheet provides the latest UIS data on trained teachers, the global indicator for SDG target 4.c. Globally, 85% of primary teachers were trained in 2018 but only 64% in sub-Saharan Africa. The proportion of teachers that are trained in sub-Saharan Africa is falling, mostly due to the rising demand for education from a growing school-age population. Continue reading

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Busra has been trained to help Syrian children in Turkey who are suffering from the trauma of the war

This content comes from the interactive youth version of the 2019 GEM Report. It tells a story that brings to life some of the key messages in our policy paper: Education as healing: Addressing the trauma of displacement through social and emotional learning that is being presented at a side event during the UN General Assembly.

This week at the General Assembly, the GEM Report, FHI 360 and the Lego Foundation are coming together at an event available to watch online to discuss a range of promising socio-emotional learning practices that have real potential for large-scale impact in fragile and humanitarian contexts.  One of the key calls to action relate to the need for teachers to have better training to provide psychosocial support to migrant and refugee students who have suffered trauma. In this blog, Busra, a teacher of Syrian refugees in Turkey, describes the positive impact of receiving training to support her with her day-to-day work.

Busra 1I  worked  in  a  temporary  education  center  in Turkey for  one and a half years  as  a  psychological  counsellor  where  all  the  students  are  Syrian.  I  taught  about  500  students  in  primary  and  high  school.  They  had  Turkish  lessons  as  well  as  Arabic  ,  math,  science  and  sports  lessons.  Some of my students have lost their  family  members  or  friends. My  role  was  to strengthen  the students’  capability  in dealing  with  problems,  helping  them  to  adapt,  and helping  them  deal  with  the  trauma  that  they’ve  had  because  of  the  war,  loss  of  close  ones  and  migration.

Busra 2I took  the  Ministry  of  Education’s  trauma  education  for  psychological  counselors.    I  also  took  lessons  from  non-government  organisations  and  some  associations.  It was one of the best training sessions I’ve ever attended. I can intervene more professionally with traumatized students.  It helped us to approach students in a more sensitive way when dealing with their problems. It helped on separating problems, determining whether the issue is trauma-based or not. For example, it is important to tell the difference between whether the students’ failure is based on trauma or just laziness.

The better the pupils are spiritually, the better their behaviour in the classroom, the better their friendships, the better they can relate to the teachers and the better they do in education. Continue reading

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Takeaways from the Cali International Forum on Inclusion and Equity in Education

Last week (11-13 September), the International Forum on Inclusion and Equity in Education was held in Cali, Colombia, to mark the 25th anniversary of the Salamanca Declaration with a packed agenda. This blog summarizes some of the energy and outcomes from the event.

“Making inclusive policies at the national level is not a very productive way to make a Screenshot 2019-09-20 at 10.27.39career in politics” said Stefania Giannini, Assistant-Director General for Education at UNESCO, but notably also former Minister of Education in Italy. And yet, the almost 40 countries represented at the Forum signed up to the ‘Cali commitment to equity and inclusion in education’, “which recognizes the necessity and urgency of providing equitable and inclusive quality education for all learners, from the early years through compulsory schooling, TVET, higher education, and lifelong learning”.

Screenshot 2019-09-20 at 10.27.19The statement also committed those present to “build on achievements […] including in the areas addressed by the 2020 Global Education Monitoring Report.” In shorthand:

  • Legislative and policy frameworks that take a cross-sectoral approach
  • Clarity of roles and responsibilities of decision makers at all levels and across all sectors
  • Curricula that are broad and inclusive
  • Learning environments that ensure high levels of motivation, engagement and learning outcomes for everyone
  • Technologies based on principles of equity, diversity and inclusion
  • Teachers with a solid understanding of the principles and practices of inclusion and their application
  • Robust disaggregated data and evidence
  • Adequate , equitable and effectively used funding at all levels

Continue reading

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Making evaluations work for education equality and inclusion

By Karen Mundy, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education

International organizations typically have well-developed evaluation units, generating large volumes of evidence about their policies, programs and practices. Yet, while synthesis of evidence on international education development has evolved considerably in recent years, synthesis of evidence from the independent evaluations undertaken by international organizations has not.

coverA new ‘evidence synthesis’ released this week from UNESCO’s IOS Evaluation Office and a group of international partners partly fills this gap. The study reviews 147 independent evaluations commissioned by 13 international organizations, all with a focus on measuring and assessing some aspect of education equality or gender equity. Using a rigorous search process, systematic coding and narrative analysis, the study gives a bird’s eye view of the types of interventions being evaluated by international organizations and synthesizes evaluation findings. It also proposes important recommendations to help improve evaluations commissioned by international organizations and ensure that these evaluations support country progress in achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4.5. Continue reading

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Has the approach to inclusion changed over the years?

Inclusion in education over the yearsIt is 25 years since the Salamanca Statement and Framework for Action on Special Needs Education endorsed the approach of inclusive schools and argued that regular schools should accommodate all children, regardless of their physical, intellectual, social, emotional, linguistic or other conditions. 

The Statement is generally perceived to be a turning point although the past 25 years have also been marked by other important moments on the way to inclusion in education, not least the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2006 and General Comment 4 of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

To mark the anniversary, an International Forum on Inclusion and Equity in Education is being held in Cali, Colombia, this week from 11 to 13 September 2019 with the motto ‘Every learner matters’. Continue reading

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