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Sustainable development through measurement in learning: perspectives from international organizations and country

Thu, April 18, 11:45am to 1:15pm, Hyatt Regency, Floor: Street (Level 0), Regency B

Group Submission Type: Formal Panel Session

Proposal

Introduction

Learning is paramount for sustainable development. It is needed to end poverty, to ensure prosperous and fulfilling lives in harmony with nature, and to foster peaceful, just and inclusive societies. Learning is a process that happens throughout the whole life cycle. We learn the social values that allow us to live together. We learn the working skills needed to make a living and to contribute to society. Learning is needed to reach our full potential, to contribute to society, to overcome poverty.
Sustainable development is at risk when a vast proportion of the world population is not learning. Because learning is so critical, a global commitment has been made to monitor and support learning. Sustainable Development Goal 4 on Education is at the core of this effort. Four of its indicators are directly related to learning:
• Indicator 4.1.1. Proportion of children and young people: (a) in grades 2/3; (b) at the end of primary; and (c) at the end of lower secondary achieving at least a minimum proficiency level in (i) reading and (ii) mathematics, by sex.
• Indicator 4.2.1. Proportion of children under 5 years of age who are developmentally on track in health, learning and psychosocial well-being, by sex.
• Indicator 4.4.2. Percentage of youth/adults who have achieved at least a minimum level of proficiency in digital literacy skills
• Indicator 4.6.1. Percentage of population in a given age group achieving at least a fixed level of proficiency in functional (a) literacy and (b) numeracy skills, by sex
Organization of panel
Given the importance of learning, this panel is organised to address issues related to the measurement of learning and proximate determinants. The panel consists of four presentations. The first presentation will address the benefits of measuring learning and proximate determinants, and will compare those benefits to the costs of that measurement. The second presentation looks at the currently proposed frameworks for tools and methods to measure learning. The third presentation describes how international organizations are working to support country reporting on the SDGs. And the fourth presentation will look at country perspectives and challenges in implementing work programs and measuring learning for monitoring.
1. Benefits (and Costs) of improved data for tracking SDG4 – Luis Crouch, RTI
Much has been written about the costs of measuring the SDGs. Institutions with the measurement mandate are busy estimating costs and making plans to improve both reporting and improved capacity within countries. However, some observers and commentators are sceptical about the benefits of measurement. This paper will take a “value of information” approach to calculating the benefits of having and using information by asking: what is the social (monetary) benefit of running an education system with full information versus running the same education system with only limited information? the paper will help dispel scepticism about the worth of investing in data and information.
2. Indicator development to guide country in reporting indicator 4.1.1 – Silvia Montoya and Brenda Tay-Lim, UNESCO Institute for Statistics
The UIS, as the custodian agency for reporting on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), has the primary task to develop indicators with guidelines, methodology and tools for countries to report their data. The UIS, through Global Alliance to Monitor Learning (GAML), has developed methodologies and tools, under each respective conceptual, methodology and reporting framework, for various learning Indicators.
A further UIS goal is to facilitate the use of existing national and cross-national assessments for measuring and reporting learning outcomes for SDGs. Generating comparability while allowing for latitude in the use of specific assessments is a challenging technical task that the current proposal aims to address. Given the amount of learning assessment data available for indicator 4.1.1, the UIS is more advance in the technical development of indicator 4.1.1, therefore, indicator 4.1.1 will be used as an example to inform on the learning indicator development process.
3. Word Bank activities at the country-level to help country reporting on SDG 4, Marguerite Clarke, World Bank Group
In the era of Education For All (EFA) and the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), countries responded by improving access to schools and education (formal and informal) participation. In the new era of SDGs, countries are tasked with improving the learning outcomes of their populations. With this new challenge, international organizations have responded by organizing amongst themselves and contributing ideas in the development and measurement of learning.
Through its Systems Approach for Better Education Results (SABER) and other initiatives, the World Bank has worked closely with countries to improve their assessments of learning by incorporating best practices and enhancing their overall assessment systems. In this session, the presenter will describe the World Bank’s work at the country-level to help countries implement work programmes to report on SDG 4 indicators, especially the learning indicators.
4. Mexico’s response to SDG 4 challenges: The view from INEE, Mexico, Sylvia Schmelk, INEE Mexico
In the era of SDG, countries are tasked with reporting on new indicators that require new data, especially data on learning outcomes. These new data will require additional collection, which may require new approaches. Country will need to align to global guidelines and requirements. There are political, technical and operational challenges in implementing these guidelines. Depending on the development and economic stage of country, the willingness of country to compliance, the capacity and resources in country, collecting new data to report on learning indicators might take some balancing and negotiation between organizations and ministries within country.
In this presentation we will look at country responses to SDGs from financial, technical and operational aspects in reporting. The challenges that one country has in implementing the work programs to fulfil the requirements to report on SDGs.
Summary
Both the political agendas and monitoring frameworks of the SDGs are extremely ambitious. They demand new approaches, continuous support from international organizations, and an unprecedented increase in the collection, processing and dissemination of data in and from countries. Hence, the international community should take note of the challenges, especially challenges faced by countries, and adopt a flexible and yet rigorous approach to collect information to ensure quality data for measuring learning.

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