Chapter 6: Priorities for missing data and SDG 4 for countries in Africa
Open access

Africa has a poor record of reporting on SDG 4 indicators. These indicators are too numerous, too complex, often not financially feasible and some of them are insufficiently related to national priorities to warrant their institutionalization in data systems by countries. The data ambitions of not only the 43 SDG 4 indicators - but also Africa’s own 57 indicators in the Continental Education Strategy for Africa (CESA), 17 of which are in common - have placed undue burden on the limited resources of countries to produce them. In contrast, only 11 indicators were used to monitor the Millennium Development Goals. A lack of understanding by stakeholders on using data for accountability and policy change is often missing for various reasons, including weak data literacy and understanding of their purposes. The solution is to scale back the number of indicators, simplify them and build on existing knowledge bases of national statistical systems.

  • ACPF, & AMC. (2019). In the firing line: The war on Africa’s Children. African Child Policy Forum (ACPF) & The AfricaWide Movement for Children (AMC). https://app.box.com/s/1llqndggbgpvjesbllirnc38xx9no7co Accessed 7 November 2021.

  • ADEA. (2015). Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Ministerial Conference on Education Post-2015 (Kigali Statement). Abidjan: Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA).

  • African Union. (2014a). Key documents of Agenda 2063. Addis Ababa: African Union Commission. https://au.int/en/documents/20141012/key-documents-agenda2063. Accessed 7 November 2021.

  • African Union. (2014b). The Africa we want. Addis Ababa: African Union Commission. https://au.int/en/agenda2063/overview. Accessed 7 November 2021.

  • African Union. (2018). Continental Education Strategy for Africa (CESA 16–25) Indicators Manual. Addis Ababa: African Union Commission.

  • African Union. (2022). Draft concept note on the AU theme of 2022: As the year of nutrition. Addis Ababa: African Union Commission. https://au.int/sites/default/files/documents/41426-doc-EX_CL_1288_XXXIX_E.pdf. Accessed 1 February 2023.

  • Anderson, K., & Muskin, J. (2018). Learning champions: How 15 countries, cities, and provinces came together to rethink learning assessment. Washington, DC: The Center for Universal Education (CUE), Brookings.

  • Arnott, A. (2022, 14 April). Using data for accountability. NORRAG Missing Data Blog Series. https://www.norrag.org/using-data-for-accountability/. Accessed 1 February 2023.

  • AU-IPED. (2022). The AU IPED Strategy 2023–2025. Tunis: African Union Pan-African Institute for Education for Development (AU-IPED).

  • Care, E. (2020). Optimizing assessment for all: Assessment as a stimulus for scaling 21st century skills in education systems. Washington, DC: The Center for Universal Education (CUE), Brookings.

  • Centre for Global Development, & The African Population and Health Research Centre. (2014). Delivering on a data revolution in Sub-Saharan Africa. Washington, DC: Center for Global Development. https://www.cgdev.org/sites/default/files/CGD14-01%20complete%20for%20web%200710.pdf. Accessed 7 November 2021.

  • Choi, J., Mark, D., & Zainab, U. (2020). The future of work in Africa: Harnessing the potential of digital technologies for all. Washington, DC: World Bank.

  • CREATE. (2010). Seeds of their struggle: The features of under and overage enrolment among Grade 4 learners in South Africa. Brighton: CREATE, Centre for International Education.

  • Crouch, L. (2019). Meeting the data challenge in education. Washington, DC: Global Partnership for Education. 2019-07-15-kix-data-final-english.pdf (globalpartnership.org).

  • ED, & NCES. (1991). Standards for education data collection and reporting (SEDCAR). Washington, DC: US Department of Education (ED) & National Centre for Education Statistics (NCES).

  • European Union, & United Nations. (2018). Technical report on statistics of internally displaced persons current practice and recommendations for improvement. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union. https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/documents/3859598/9316015/KS-GQ-18-003-EN-N.pdf.

  • Figlio, D., & Özek, U. (2019). Unwelcome guests? The effects of refugees on the educational outcomes of incumbent students. Journal of Labor Economics, 37(4), 1061–96. https://doi.org/10.1086/703116

  • Glassman, A., & Sandefur, J. (2014). Why African stats are often wrong. Washington: DC and London: Center for Global Development. https://www.cgdev.org/blog/why-african-stats-are-often-wrong.

  • Global Disability Rights Now. (2021). Disability in Kenya. Eugene, OR: Mobility International. https://miusa.globaldisabilityrightsnow.org/infographic/disability-kenya/

  • IGAD. (2017). Djibouti plan of action on refugee education in the IGAD member states. Djibouti: Intergovernmental Authority on Development.

  • ILO. (2018). Women and men in the informal economy: A statistical picture (third edition). Geneva: International Labour Organization.

  • Johnston, D. (2014). Benefits and costs of the data for development targets for the post-2015 development agenda. Tewksbury, MA: Copenhagen Consensus Center. http://www.post2015consensus.com. Accessed 7 November 2021.

  • Jolliffe, D., Kilic, T., Mahler, D., & Randolph, P. (2021). How much should governments spend on data? Washington, DC: World Bank. https://blogs.worldbank.org/opendata/how-much-should-governments-spend-data. Accessed 7 November 2021.

  • Kanjee, A., & Moloi, M. (2014). South African teachers’ use of national assessment data. South African Journal of Childhood Education, 4(2), 90–113. https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v4i2.206.

  • Lewin, K.M. (2020). Beyond business as usual: Aid and financing education in Sub Saharan Africa. International Journal of Educational Development, 78, 102247. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijedudev.2020.102247.

  • Mbuen, E. (2011). Implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Africa: Opportunities and challenges. Budapest and London: Mental Disability Advocacy Centre. https://www.mdac.org/en/implementing-un-convention-rights-persons-disabili. Accessed 7 November 2021.

  • Montjouridès. (2022). GEM Spotlight Panel. AU IPED Strategy. Tunis: AU-IPED.

  • Orton, M., & Rowlingson, K. (2007). Public attitudes to economic inequality. York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

  • Oxford Policy Management. (2021). Recommendations to strengthen Uganda’s Education Response Plan for Refugees and Host Communities (ERP). Oxford: Oxford Policy Management. https://www.opml.co.uk/files/Publications/A2241-maintains/recommendations-to-strengthen-uganda-s-education-response-plan-for-refugees-and-host-communities-finance-edited.pdf?noredirect=1. Accessed 7 November 2021.

  • Over, M. (2014, March). A “data revolution” of the people, by the people, and for the people – not just for advocates. Washington, DC and London: Center for Global Development.

  • RTI. (2015). Status of early grade reading in Sub-Saharan Africa. Washington, DC: US Agency for International Development (USAID).

  • Sandefur, J., & Glassman, A. (2014). The political economy of bad data: Evidence from African survey & administrative statistics. Washington, DC and London: Center for Global Development.

  • Smith-Greenaway, E. (2015). Educational attainment and adult literacy: A descriptive account of 31 Sub-Saharan Africa countries. Demographic Research, 33(35), 1015–34.

  • Statistics Sierra Leone. (2018). Sierra Leone Integrated Household Survey. Freetown: Statistics Sierra Leone. https://www.statistics.sl/images/StatisticsSL/Documents/SLIHS2018/SLIHS_2018_New/sierra_leone_integrated_household_survey2018_report.pdf. Accessed 7 November 2021.

  • UIS. (2018). Quick guide to education indicators for SDG 4. Montreal: UNESCO Institute for Statistics.

  • UIS. (2019a). Fact Sheet no. 56. Montreal: UNESCO Institute for Statistics. https://uis.unesco.org/sites/default/files/documents/new-methodology-shows-258-million-children-adolescents-and-youth-are-out-school.pdf. Accessed 7 November 2021.

  • UIS. (2019b). UIS education data release: September 2019. Montreal: UNESCO Institute for Statistics. https://uis.unesco.org/sites/default/files/documents/ip59-uis-education-data-release-september-2019.pdf. Accessed 7 November 2021.

  • UIS. (2019c). SDG 4 Data Digest: How to produce and use the global and thematic education indicators. Montreal: UNESCO Institute for Statistics. https://uis.unesco.org/sites/default/files/documents/sdg4-data-digest-2019-en_0.pdf. Accessed 7 November 2021.

  • UIS. (2021a). Guidelines for data collection to measure SDG 4.7.4 and 4.7.5. Montreal: UNESCO Institute for Statistics. https://uis.unesco.org/sites/default/files/documents/guidelines_sdg_474_475_final_v3.pdf. Accessed 1 February 2023.

  • UIS. (2021b). Summary report of Africa regional technical consultations on regional benchmarks for SDG 4 and CESA 16-2. Montreal: UNESCO Institute for Statistics. https://tcg.uis.unesco.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/4/2021/08/Final-Outcomes-Report_-Regional-benchmarks_Africa_20210729.pdf. Accessed 7 November 2021.

  • UIS. (2021c). UIS statistics. Montreal: UNESCO Institute for Statistics.

  • UNDESA. (2020). World social report 2020: Inequality in a rapidly changing world. United Nations Department of Social and Economic Affairs. New York: UNDESA.

  • UNESCO. (2018). Nairobi Declaration and Call for Action on Education. Bridging continental and global education frameworks for the Africa We Want. Paris: UNESCO. https://en.unesco.org/sites/default/files/2018-04-23_en_pace_2018_working_documents_2304_rev.pdf. Accessed 7 November 2021.

  • UNESCO. (2019). Global Education Monitoring Report 2019: Migration, displacement and education: Building bridges, not walls. Paris: UNESCO.

  • UNESCO. (2020a). Global Education Monitoring Report 2020: Inclusion and education: All means all. Paris: UNESCO. https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000373718.

  • UNESCO. (2020b). Learning assessments in Sub-Saharan Africa. Teaching and learning educators network for transformation. Paris: UNESCO.

  • UNESCO. (2021a). Progress Report on SDG4 Targets by SADC member states. Harare: UNESCO.

  • UNESCO. (2021b). KIX Africa 19 Data Challenge Seminar Report Three. Feedback mechanisms for schools. Harare: UNESCO.

  • UNESCO. (2023). World Inequality Database on Education. https://www.education-inequalities.org/. Accessed 6 September 2023.

  • UNICEF. (2019). The State of the World’s Children 2019. Children, food and nutrition: Growing well in a changing world. New York: UNICEF. https://www.unicef.org/media/106506/file/The%20State%20of%20the%20World%E2%80%99s%20Children%202019.pdf. Accessed 7 November 2021.

  • UNICEF. (2021). MICS6 TOOLS. New York: UNICEF. https://mics.unicef.org/tools. Accessed 7 November 2021.

  • UNICEF. (2022). Data must speak: Country initiatives: Explore how this UNICEF education initiative works around the world. New York: UNICEF. https://www.unicef.org/education/data-must-speak-country-initiatives

  • United Nations. (2017). Cape Town Global Action Plan for Sustainable Development Data. New York: United Nations. https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/hlg/Cape_Town_Global_Action_Plan_for_Sustainable_Development_Data.pdf"https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/hlg/Cape_Town_Global_Action_Plan_for_Sustainable_Development_Data.pdf. Accessed 7 November 2021.

  • United Nations. (2019). Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. New York: United Nations.

  • UNSD. (2019). SDG progressing: SDG4 quality education. New York: United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD). https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/report/2019/goal-04/. Accessed 7 November 2021.

  • UNSD. (2022). SDG indicator metadata (Harmonized metadata template – Format version 1.1). New York: United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD). https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/metadata/files/Metadata-10-06-01.pdf. Accessed 1 February 2023.

  • van der Berg, S. (2008). How effective are poor schools? Poverty and educational outcomes in South Africa. Studies in Educational Evaluation, 34(3), 145–54. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.stueduc.2008.07.005

  • Watkins, K. (2013). Too little access, not enough learning: Africa’s twin deficit in education. Washington, DC: The Center for Universal Education (CUE), Brookings. https://www.brookings.edu/opinions/too-little-access-not-enough-learning-africas-twin-deficit-in-education/. Accessed 7 November 2021.

  • WHO, & World Bank. (2011). World report on disability 2011. Geneva: World Health Organization (WHO). https://apps.who.int/iris/handle/10665/44575. Accessed 7 November 2021.

  • World Bank. (2020). Global Estimate of Children in Monetary Poverty: An Update, Poverty & Equity. Washington, DC: World Bank.

  • World Bank. (2021a). Data. Washington, DC: World Bank. https://datatopics.worldbank.org/education/. Accessed 7 November 2021.

  • World Bank. (2021b). The World Bank Development Report 2021: Data for better lives. The World Bank. https://www.worldbank.org/en/publication/wdr2021. Accessed 21 February 2022

  • World Bank. (2022). School enrollment, preprimary (% gross) – Sub-Saharan Africa. Washington, DC: World Bank. https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SE.PRE.ENRR?locations=ZG. Accessed 1 February 2023.

  • World Population Review. (2022). Poorest countries in Africa 2022. Walnut, CA: World Population Review. https://worldpopulationreview.com/country-rankings/poorest-countries-in-africa. Accessed 21 February 2022.