Global Partnership for Education Launches New DataHub

How can you improve an education system if you don’t have reliable data telling you how many girls and boys are in school? The new GPE DataHub is a commitment to making education data more accessible by providing a user-friendly interface.

June 23, 2014 by Jean-Marc Bernard, Global Partnership for Education, and Yann Doignon, Global Partnership for Education
6 minutes read
Data for education

How can you improve an education system if you don’t have reliable data telling you how many girls and boys are in school, how many complete school, how many teachers, classrooms, books are available, and without knowing what school children actually learn? Reliable data is core to any analysis that needs to precede education planning.

In recent months, the international development community has rallied around the urgent need for a data revolution, and especially the use of innovative technologies to fill gaps in producing and disseminating education data.  

30 out of 59 partner developing countries of the Global Partnership for Education currently don’t provide consistent education data. Others don’t provide the data on time, making it difficult to compare data across countries[1].  Hence, a data revolution requires a concerted effort of many players involved in collecting, analyzing and then using the data which in turn requires significant financial and innovative technology investments.

Next week, on June 26 at the Replenishment Pledging Conference of the Global Partnership, we will be talking about the data revolution, the new GPE DataHub and other examples of good use of technology to improve education data production and access.

The Data Revolution Will Be Visualized

But just providing relevant education data is not enough. Making data more visible and accessible to a wider audience through open data hubs incorporating data visualizations is key to identify education patterns, inform decision making and new ideas.  User-friendly data visualizations help capture the complexity of education trends to empower all education stakeholders, statisticians, teachers and parents alike, to engage in discussions and improve the conditions for quality teaching and learning.

Data visualizations are no decoration but essential components of any large-scale initiative to make data more relevant and accessible, and more efficient than excel sheets of numbers and text alone[2]. Data visualizations promote greater transparency and act as powerful incentives to strengthen national statistical systems as data-deprived graphical displays and grayed-out areas dotting country maps highlight glaring information gaps and missing data.  

Launching the New GPE DataHub

The new GPE DataHub is a commitment to making data more accessible by providing a visual interface that is understandable and usable by all.

The maps and visualizations compare 59 GPE Developing Country Partners’ education results and cover GPE’s overall strategic goals of access, equity and quality of education, and drill down into specific areas such as school enrollment, primary and secondary completion rates, numbers of teacher trained, teacher-pupil ratios, literacy rates and learning assessments. The indicators also track domestic education financing in GPE Developing Country Partners and external aid from donors.

The DataHub reflects the added value of GPE as a unique and innovative convener in education aid. Our approach required a more integrated open data and data visualization strategy to ensure that we’re not replicating other partners’ work. Rather than recreating existing datasets, the GPE DataHub brings together relevant education data from the GPE Secretariat, GPE partners (UNESCO Institute for Statistics, The World Bank), OECD, and institutions specialized in international learning outcomes assessments ( CONFEMENSACMEQ, and IEA).

 This collaborative approach aims to help track education progress in GPE Developing Country Partners and inform the dialogue within the Partnership, and ultimately, contribute to achieving education results for the many children who are still missing on an education and for those who are not learning.

Check out the Datahub new features and get your numbers right and some of these questions answered:  

  • How many girls and boys are enrolled (or not) in school, and how many of them complete their primary education?
  • What’s the average number of pupils per teacher in classrooms?
  • How many youth can read and write a simple statement?
  • How much do developing countries spend in education and what’s the amount of aid donors have contributed in the last 4 years?

[1] Results for Learning Report 2013. Global Partnership for Education Secretariat (2013)

[2] Few, Stephen. Information Dashboard Design: Displaying Data At-a-Glance (2013. Analytics Press; 2nd Edition). p.27

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I hope that the GPE Secretariat extends the hand of partnership in implementing the data revolution to African role-players active on the continent in education data management and capacity building In particular the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) , the key technical partner of the African Union in driving its EMIS strategy. We are also the major player of EMIS capacity building with Regional Economic Communities such as SADC, ECOWAS, EAC and now more recently ECCAS. All have developed customised Regional EMIS Norms and Standards endorsed collectively by their regional Ministers and roll out of peer reviews of country compliance begun in 2013 is gaining momentum in 2014. ADEA has been instrumental in driving this through the AU EMIS Committee and REC EMIS committees composed of national Planning Directors. Another African partner is the SADC Centre of Specialisation of Education Policy Planning and Management which is the equivalent of IIEP but with its professional programmes in education finance, planning and applied economics - all data and results based - which currently provides training to ministry personnel from 6-8 African countries ranging from South Sudan to South Africa.There are other African regional providers in this regard which can also be shared.
GPE Secretariat needs to be aware of not overlapping existing efforts and ignoring legitimized African structures
- and ultimately repeating the key error of driving development top down from a donor perspective.

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