Collecting education data through COVID outbreak: UIS vision

Statistical institutes in low- and middle-income countries now have to cope with tremendous challenges to gather data on education throughout the pandemia. As the COVID-19 crisis continues the fundamental questions for statistical institutions are “what data to collect” and “how to do it” to avoid missing data required to keep track of learning processes. Sylvia Montoya, director of the UNESCO Institute of Statistics (UIS), addresses the challenges of this process in her article published at GEM Report World Education Blog.

According to her, it is crucial to ensure that education data clearly represent the consequences of school closures and distance education at the moment when getting accurate data has become a real problem. Against this background statistical institutes need to assume, which education variables that can be collected are the most valuable for immediate use and to monitor structural changes influencing learning that may stay after the crisis will end. 

The author of the article supposes that “a country-level strategy to manage education data in the pursuit of learning equity during and after the COVID-19 pandemic should include – at a minimum – the collection and reporting of data on:

  • student participation in all platforms of education delivery disaggregated by individual student characteristics, such as gender and poverty;
  • teacher participation in all platform of education delivery disaggregated by individual teacher characteristics, such as gender and contract status;
  • use of quick and short tests for the frequent measurement of student learning.”

The analysis of learning should also take pupil’s age and family income rate into consideration as well-off students have better opportunities for distance learning and elementary school children are less capable to learn on their own. 

The conclusion of the article is devoted to the author’s vision of how governments and statistical institutes should act to collect the required data during the pandemic that will help to create a consistent, sustainable and effective educational system. The original article is available here.