At a Glance | Evidence-Informed Policymaking: Education Data-Driven Decision Mapping in Kenya and Senegal

July 2, 2024 Data Management Systems and MEL, Education
Development Gateway
Data Use, IREX

Development Gateway: An IREX Venture’s (DG’s) “At a Glance” series explores the highlights in DG’s white papers and other publications. In this installment of the series, we explore the white paper titled “Evidence-Informed Policymaking: Education Data-Driven Decision Mapping in Kenya and Senegal,” which was produced from a study exploring the education data systems in Kenya and Senegal. The study—which was done by DG in collaboration with our strategic partner IREX and supported by the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation—was conducted to ultimately inform further research and reform by gathering stories and perspectives from stakeholders to shed light on the complexities of education data supply, access, and utilization.

This work is essential because effective decision-making in education hinges on relevant, comparable, and accessible data that is managed through efficient information systems. These systems enable policymakers to discern effective strategies, optimize resources, monitor goal achievement, and foster trust. Therefore, well managed education data systems are key components for optimized education systems.  

In the study, DG and IREX underscore the necessity of a harmonized approach to education data management. By prioritizing data governance, incentivizing data use, and ensuring interoperability of existing systems, Kenya and Senegal can enhance their education data ecosystems. These steps are crucial for fostering informed decision-making, optimizing resources, and ultimately improving educational outcomes. The insights gained from this study provide a valuable roadmap for future reforms and investments in education data systems. 

Key Insights and Recommendations

Our study in Kenya and Senegal highlights the need for harmonized investment in three key areas:

  1. Data Governance: Establishing national standards for data collection, aggregation, indicator definitions, and data sharing protocols can significantly reduce redundancies, alleviate the reporting burden on school staff, and maximize the utility of existing data investments. Effective data governance ensures consistent and reliable data management, fostering a more accurate and comprehensive understanding of educational outcomes.
  2. Incentives for Data Use: Making data use a norm requires generating demand for timely, high-quality, and fit-for-purpose data in decision-making processes. This involves investing in human and technical resources; ensuring data meets key decision needs; and increasing awareness of the potential impact of data use in planning, policy design, implementation, and school-level operations. Establishing incentives for data use can drive a culture of informed decision-making, ultimately, leading to better educational outcomes.
  3. Interoperability of Existing Data Systems: The current education data landscape in Senegal and Kenya comprises numerous data systems, school surveys, and official statistics with limited exchange and interoperability. This leads to inconsistencies, mistrust among data users, and a fragmented view of the education system. Instead of investing in new data systems, efforts should focus on supporting the harmonization and interoperability of existing systems. This approach can create a more holistic view of education system performance and build on the foundations of effective data governance.

Dive deeper into these insights and learn more about education data systems in Kenya and Senegal in the white paper.

Explore our white papers

Evidence-Informed Policymaking: Education Data-Driven Decision Mapping in Kenya and Senegal

Between December 2022 and February 2024, Development Gateway: An IREX Venture (DG) and IREX, funded by the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, conducted research in Kenya and Senegal to explore the complexities of education data supply, access, and decision-making processes. Effective decision-making in education relies on reliable, comparable, and accessible data managed through efficient information systems, facilitating resource optimization and goal monitoring. However, many countries, including Kenya and Senegal, experience challenges with unreliable education data, limited data utilization for decision-making, and insufficient national capacity to manage and leverage data effectively. The research, employing DG's Custom Assessment and Landscape Methodology (CALM), involved a desk review, stakeholder consultations, interviews, and validation workshops. Rather than an evaluation or comprehensive diagnostic, the study aimed to gather diverse perspectives and stories from stakeholders to contribute to ongoing discussions, technical investments, and reform efforts. We present key findings in Kenya and Senegal, before comparing and identifying shared characteristics that may be useful to assess in other country contexts.

Élaboration De Politiques Fondées Sur Des Données Probantes: Élaboration De Politiques Fondées Sur Des Données Probantes

Entre décembre 2022 et février 2024, Development Gateway : an IREX Venture (DG) et IREX, avec le financement de la Fondation William & Flora Hewlett, ont mené des recherches au Kenya et au Sénégal pour étudier la complexité des mécanismes de fourniture des données sur l'éducation, l'accès aux données et les processus de prise de décision. Une prise de décision efficace dans le domaine de l'éducation repose sur des données fiables, comparables et accessibles, gérées par des systèmes d'information tout aussi efficaces, facilitant ainsi l'optimisation des ressources et le suivi des objectifs. Cependant, de nombreux pays, dont le Kenya et le Sénégal, sont confrontés à des défis liés au manque de fiabilité des données sur l'éducation, à une utilisation limitée des données dans la prise de décision et à la faiblesse de la capacité nationale à gérer et à exploiter les données de manière efficace. Cette étude, qui utilise la méthodologie CALM (Custom Assessment and Landscape Methodology) de DG, comprend un examen documentaire, des consultations avec les parties prenantes, des entretiens et des ateliers de validation. Plutôt que de réaliser une évaluation ou un diagnostic complet, l'étude visait à recueillir des points de vue et des récits diversifiés auprès des parties prenantes afin de contribuer aux discussions en cours, aux investissements techniques et aux réformes entreprises. Nous présentons les principaux résultats obtenus au Kenya et au Sénégal avant de comparer et d'identifier les caractéristiques communes qui pourraient s’avérer utiles d'évaluer dans d'autres contextes nationaux.

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