This blog provides a glimpse of what has happened behind the scenes in the creation of the 518 page report ‘Education for All 2000-2015: Achievements and Challenges’ due out on Thursday 9 April.
The theme of each of the EFA Global Monitoring Reports is suggested by the Report Director and approved by the Report’s Advisory Board, which meets once a year. A broad concept note is then prepared, and reactions to it are invited through a public consultation process. Ten researchers of the GMR team then begin working up a zero draft drawing on team discussions and incorporating comments from external reviewers. Four drafts will be written and reviewed before the final version is sent for editing.
The Zero draft
The initial zero draft is presented to an expert group, specific to the theme of that Report, for their comments. For the GMR 2015, this included Christopher Colclough, Suzanne Grant-Lewis and Michael Ward.
The external consultation asks the public to comment on the Report’s concept note. This is an important process, as it enables the team to hear challenging comments from experts, practitioners and minority voices, and to learn about evidence pertaining to different countries and organisations, that could be considered for inclusion.
Concurrently, the researchers conduct their own background research, looking at recent journal articles and technical reports; international, regional and national survey data; information made available from Ministries of Education; and data compiled by the UNESCO’s Institute for Statistics and other UN agencies.
Current researchers on the team have spent extensive time working on education in countries including Malawi, Nigeria, India, Bangladesh, China, Haiti, Nepal, Mexico, Turkey, Argentina and Albania, and bring considerable personal experience to their analytical and drafting skills. Where they do not have expertise, background papers are also commissioned from experts who are not members of the team. For the GMR 2015 more than 50 background papers were commissioned, more than any previous GMR. These papers serve as an important source of expert information and analysis, in addition to the Report, and are used extensively by many readers of the GMR. On the 9th of April more than 600 background papers commissioned since 2001 will be available on our website and will soon on a USB key for all who are interested.
The focus and length of each chapter draft expands, as researchers begin turning their analyses into messages that are audience appropriate. Much mental energy goes into defining terms and concepts along with the communications team members, and drawing together conclusions from the multiple pieces of evidence being considered.
This is not a solo effort. The soon to be released GMR 2015 was also submitted to several selected external experts for them to review before it hit the final phase.
Production and communications
Next, of course, the production and communications elements of the team begin their work on the Report. The editing, proof-reading, designing, translating, indexing, printing and distribution is managed by the production manager. The communications team manage the honing of key messages, the press release, graphics, tailoring of the Report for different audiences, the multiple events that take place around the world, and ensuring the Report reaches as many people as it can come launch day.
Of course, none of this would be possible without our incredibly efficient administrative team as well.
After a gestation period of several months, it takes nearly a year before each new GMR is ready for printing. This time frame is what enables the Report to maintain its reputation as a reliable, evidence-based, up to date, advocacy tool for policy makers and campaigners the world over.