Supporting effective education systems: The Data Must Speak initiative

The GPE webinar series recently showcased the UNICEF-led Data Must Speak initiative (DMS), supported by a GPE grant. Findings from the initiative in Nepal, Madagascar, the Philippines, Togo and Zambia were presented, including the impact on equity and social accountability.

August 30, 2017 by Gabrielle Bonnet, L'éducation sans délai, and Daniel Kelly
6 minutes read
A student at the Anosisoa primary school in Madagascar. Credit: GPE/Carine Durand
A student at the Anosisoa primary school in Madagascar. The Data Must Speak initiative in Madagascar helped develop and test automatically-generated profile cards, reform school management committees, and develop and test training modules.
Credit: GPE/Carine Durand

The GPE Webinar Series recently brought together education practitioners from partner countries to share results from the UNICEF-led Data Must Speak initiative (DMS) supported through a grant from GPE’s Global and Regional Activities (GRA) program. Two sessions in English and French highlighted results from Nepal, Madagascar, the Philippines, Togo, and Zambia, including the impact on equity and social accountability.

The webinars discussed achievements and challenges around availability and gathering of quality and relevant data, use of feedback tools, links with school improvement plan (SIP) development, and enhancement of community involvement in school management.  

In Togo, strengthened decision-making

In Togo, the DMS initiative focused on the development of user friendly and accessible profile cards, including at the community level.

Linkages with education system decision-making have been strengthened, including use of the profiles for school improvement plans and district/inspection workplans, and distribution of GPE-funded grants within the framework of performance contracts with school inspectors.

Further, tools for regulating school management committees have been developed and reviewed, and grassroots training of school management communities has been initiated.

A new equity index in Nepal

In Nepal, DMS supported the government in developing an equity index, which has helped identify districts in need of additional support and the equity challenges they face. At the district and sub-district level, it will help inform planning and budgeting. DMS is also supporting the re-development and updating of automated school and district profiles to inform budgeting and planning.

In Madagascar, better feedback on performance

DMS in Madagascar has helped develop and test automatically-generated profile cards based on the education management information system (EMIS), reform school management committees, and develop and test related training modules.

DMS supports the achievement of the national education sector plan, including more effective teacher supervision and management, increased transparency and feedback, and more efficient and equitable management. The country also highlighted feedback from the grassroots level, which shows satisfaction that education practitioners will no longer solely be judged based on the quality of infrastructure but based on actual performance.

In the Philippines, a new teacher hardship index

DMS in the Philippines has supported the development of a teacher hardship index. The new index combines many different factors of hardship, such as distance, lack of electricity, level of poverty, level of conflict, as identified by teachers into one composite value, which is used to calculate how much of a hardship allowance each teacher is entitled to.

The teacher hardship index is aimed at reducing the inequalities in the levels of experienced teachers in certain schools.

Evaluating the impact of community profiles in Zambia

In Zambia, DMS profiles have been printed and distributed to all districts and schools and capacity building has taken place for district and provincial officers. One of the remaining challenges is the limited understanding of how profiles are understood and used especially at the school and community level.

In response, DMS will undertake an evaluation of the impact of community profiles and trainings on education outcomes. The country also developed data feedback tools at all levels of the education system including community, school, district, and province.

DMS generates knowledge to improve learning

At the global level, DMS focuses on knowledge generation on what works and in which context to enhance community participation at the school level and use data for improved equity and learning.

An example of this work is the planned DMS formative evaluation and the analyses of the associations between community engagement in school management and school performance through national EMIS data.

The value of the GPE webinar series has been its ability to create awareness and amplify the work of GPE and its partners. By combining strong country presentations and technical collaborations with other agencies, the webinars bring GPE global and national level stakeholders together to engage in a continuous exchange of perspectives, knowledge, and practices. This was evident again in this webinar gathering a diverse audience from across several continents.

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