Announcing: Data-Driven Decision-Making Mapping in Education

September 22, 2022 Development Gateway

Development Gateway: an IREX Venture (DG) and IREX, in partnership with the Hewlett Foundation, are pleased to announce a new research program supporting data-driven decision-making in education in East and West Africa. This two-year, $300,000 project to map education data and decision ecosystems in Kenya and Senegal will focus on the variety of administrative, census, and survey data collected to implement and monitor primary and secondary education. The goal is to holistically understand the barriers to more effective data collection, sharing, interoperability, and use. By understanding the barriers, we can better design support for more robust education data ecosystems that drive better learning outcomes.

The Need for Education Data

This past June, The World Bank released its ​​State of Global Learning Poverty Report. The report shows that the COVID-19 Pandemic has significantly worsened learning outcomes and exacerbated an existing learning crisis. The report estimates that 70% of the world’s children are learning impoverished. At the same time, the report relies upon simulated models, which are less reliable than up-to-date official data. For example, the most recent UNESCO data from Kenya and Senegal was published in 2017.1 The Kenyan Ministry of Education, for example, directly cites data challenges in management, sharing, and interoperability.2 Inversely, in Senegal, there is limited research on the utility and availability of data for policy-making in education.3 Both countries exemplify the global challenge of effectively harnessing data for better outcomes in the education sector. Without education data, policymakers, education systems, and other stakeholders lack information to make informed decisions, monitor progress, and allocate resources efficiently or equally.4

“Yet for many [countries], data are currently incomplete, which makes monitoring difficult or impossible. It can also result in poorly-designed policies, leading to inefficient use of resources. Other challenges for countries faced with the new education agenda include inadequate funding for statistical activities, weak institutions, limited technical capacity, lack of adherence to international norms and standards, and insufficient coordination both at the national level and among national and international stakeholders.”5

The Data Revolution in Education

Addressing Data Gaps

There is a need for better, more accurate, more timely, and more interoperable data on education to help policymakers combat learning poverty. DG, together with education sector experts from IREX, will map the education data and decision ecosystems in Kenya and Senegal, focusing on primary and secondary education in order to more holistically understand the barriers to data sharing, interoperability, and use. By understanding the barriers to data use, we will allow for more targeted interventions for creating robust education data ecosystems for better learning outcomes. In addition to country-specific assessments, with actionable roadmap and investment recommendations, we will develop a white paper on education country data ecosystems, highlighting lessons from Kenya and Senegal, together with existing literature from around the globe.

“Partnering with the Hewlett Foundation on this exciting new program is an opportunity to support decision makers in Kenya and Senegal to understand, and subsequently remove, the barriers to gathering the data and information necessary to accurately address disparities in education. This program also represents a significant step in fulfilling a key goal of the IREX and Development Gateway partnership – to improve education systems and learning outcomes.”

 “At DG, we are eager to expand our work to the education sector, by bringing our combination of digital and data expertise, and experience partnering with governments globally. This program will give us the opportunity to go deeper than prior research in understanding the challenges governments face in building education data ecosystems that prioritize and support learning outcomes, while ensuring equitable access and quality of education opportunities across genders and geographies. We look forward to learning with and from our government partners, IREX colleagues, and the broader education data community.”

~Kristin Lord, President and CEO of IREX
Josh Powell, CEO of Development Gateway

The new program is an opportunity to kick-start our joint work in data for education. It builds on DG and IREX’s existing strategic partnership and is bolstered by IREX’s expertise in the education sector and DG’s experience with data and digital for development.

  2. Ministry Of Education. (n.d.). National Education Sector Strategic Plan
    For The Period 2018 – 2022. Republic Of Kenya.
  3. Ministère de l’Éducation nationale; Ministère de la Formation professionnelle et technique, de l’Apprentissage et de l’Artisanat; Ministère de l’Enseignement supérieur, de la Recherche et de l’Innovation; and Ministre de la Bonne Gouvernance et de la Protection de l’Enfance. (2018, August).
    Programme d’Amélioration de la Qualité, de l’Équité et de la Transparence-Education/Formation (PAQUET-EF) 2018-2030. Republique Du Senegal.

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