How Brazil is shortening the “To-Do” List for SDG 4 Data

By Betina Fresneda, Socioeconomic Analyst, Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE)

As Education Ministers of Latin America and the Caribbean gather for a regional meeting in Bolivia from 25-26 July, a perspective from Brazil shows how countries can respond steadily to the unprecedented demand for more and better data.     

Back in April this year, Silvia Montoya of the UNESCO Institute of Statistics (UIS) wrote about the critical importance of education management and information systems for effective educational measurement. I was thrilled that she mentioned some of the work we are doing here in Brazil, as we are working very hard to generate the data needed to track our progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) on education.

Brazil-classroom.jpgWe are at a good starting point. This is a country with very well-established national statistical systems. We have regular household surveys investigating labour force, health and consumer expenditure, for example. We also have a regular population census. Our Ministry of Education monitors and analyses administrative data and the results of national educational assessments, and its statistical section is relatively well-staffed. In many ways, we are fortunate. Continue reading

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Promoting changes in gender norms in Latin America: why boys’ education matters

In Latin America, discussions on education and gender take a different form. Here, as discussed during a recent UNESCO convened workshop for key education stakeholders in Brasilia, the gender gap is at the expense of boys particularly at the secondary level and for the poorest families.

The GEM Report’s recent policy paper shows that in Latin America and the Caribbean, for every 100 females, 96 males completed primary, 94 completed lower secondary and 91 completed upper secondary education, while only 83 were attending some form of post-secondary education.

Not that this is a new phenomenon: disparities in secondary education have persisted in Latin America and the Caribbean for at least 20 years.

Lower secondary completion rates in Latin America and the Caribbean, by gender

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Source: World Inequality Database on Education

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A national perspective on the Swiss education system

swiss report 1On June 19, Switzerland published the Swiss Education Report 2018. Fully in line with the GEM Report’s #MakeitPublic, campaign to ensure that all countries report back to their citizens on their progress in education, the new Report provides new analysis on the entire Swiss education system from primary school to adult education.

The report answers five hundred questions related to education in Switzerland, and examines differences in class size within cantons, stable and differentiated completion rates in upper-secondary education and the transitions between compulsory schooling and further education.

Published in four languages, the 2018 Report takes a deep dive into key trends in the field of higher education, such as high dropout rates at university level, and provides ongoing assessment of existing measures to ensure the highest standards in education. In the blog below representatives from Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) share their observations on the process of authoring the national education monitoring report and how this have been useful for identifying challenges and successes in education. Continue reading

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If education cannot wait, then humanitarian aid needs to increase

The Global Humanitarian Assistance Report 2018 (GHA 2018) was released last week along with UNHCR’s Global Trends Report. Just as there are more people displaced than ever before, levels of humanitarian assistance are also at an all-time high.

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The GHA 2018 report shows that humanitarian aid has been growing now for four years, albeit by only 3% from 2016 to 2017. Not only is humanitarian assistance growing in absolute terms; it is also growing as a percentage of overall aid budgets as a result of the growing impact of conflict and natural disasters.

The GHA 2018 report also tells us that over 200 million people needed international humanitarian assistance in 2017, a fifth of whom were in just three countries – Syria, Turkey and Yemen. The fact that Syria has been in the first place for five years is a reminder that crises are mostly protracted. No fewer than 17 of the 20 largest recipients of international humanitarian assistance in 2017 were either medium- or long-term recipients. Continue reading

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OECD countries prioritize education to improve inclusion of migrants and refugees

international migration outlookThere’s a deluge of reports on migrants and refugees just out. The 2018 International Migration Outlook, OECD’s report on migration flows and policies was released last week. Reflecting the tone of the latest UNHCR report on the rise of the number of those forcibly displaced, the OECD Report shows that, last year, one in ten people living in OECD countries were foreign-born and around 5 million new permanent migrants arrived. In addition, levels of temporary foreign workers and international student numbers have reached record levels.

The Outlook concentrates on labour market integration, which is linked indisputably to education, such as the extent to which migrants speak the language of their host country or the qualifications and skills they arrive with are recognised. While it may be inadequate to paint a picture of inclusion simply by the extent to which a new arrival can access the labour market, the emphasis on ensuring that they do not experience frustration by having their skills wasted is an important one.

Language skills seen as crucial for integration

Across OECD countries, many countries focus on language skills to help newly arrived migrants and refugees integrate in their societies.  Adding to some of the country initiatives mentioned in the new report from the European Migration Network, the OECD report mentions others, such as Denmark, which sees language skills as so important that they are providing incentives for migrants and refugees to acquire them. Others, such as Austria, the Czech Republic, Norway, and Poland are, instead, making language tests a compulsory element for certain permit decisions.

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What education policies did European countries prioritize for migration in 2017?

Seivan M.Salim 2Migration continues to be very high on the political agenda of high income countries. Europe is home to 30% of the total population of migrants. The Annual Report on Migration and Asylum 2017, a monitoring tool that reviews policy developments in 24 out of 28 European Union countries plus Norway, which was published last month by the European Migration Network, takes readers through a familiar menu of asylum procedures, border controls, family reunification rules and visa regimes.

But the report also devotes good space to education, in the context of ‘integration’ of migrants and refugees, which suggests that EU Member States increasingly realize that what happens in classrooms is key for their diverse societies, a message that the 2019 GEM Report on migration and displacement, due out on November 20th, will emphasize.

European countries see education as important for ‘integrating’ migrants

Measures to improve the education attainment of migrants and refugees have included making school or vocational training compulsory for all those younger than 18 years old in Austria, except for those with temporary residence; or legislating measures welcoming newly arrived immigrant pupils into schools in Belgium; and disseminating information about the national education system in the Czech Republic. Continue reading

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We need more than money to help the millions of displaced children around the world

The new UNHCR annual Global Trends figures show that there is now an unprecedented 68.5 million people around the world who have been displaced. Among them are 25.4 million refugees. These young people have extreme education needs, and expectations, which host countries must meet with the support of the international community. This is the focus of the Global Compact on Refugees process, which is expected to be completed this year. We will be laying out some concrete policy recommendations on where and how resources should be allocated in our next Report due out on the 20 November this year.

12.pngThe sheer size of these new figures is equivalent to 31 new people being displaced every minute – or more people than those who live in the UK.

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