Chapter 4: Priorities for missing data and SDG 4 in the Asia region
Open access

This chapter discusses challenges countries in the Asia region face when reporting against SDG 4 and argues for urgent action to address gaps and help ensure that no child is left behind. There is a need for a critical analysis of missing data in the region given the fact that on average only 51 per cent of the SDG 4 indicators were covered according to UNESCO’s 2016 readiness assessment. Recent analyses indicate significant data gaps and an inability to adequately disaggregate data to enable equity analysis. This chapter highlights three underrepresented groups as examples, alongside arguments for their particular relevance within Asia. These are: children attending non-governmental schools; children attending schools in conflict-affected regions; and other groups of “invisible” children. The chapter further highlights challenges faced by the region due to its size, heterogeneity, and a lack of strong regional mechanisms for data harmonization, data sharing and developing regional best practices.

  • ACER (2019) The Southeast Asia Primary Learning Metrics Program: Thinking Globally in a Regional Context, Southeast Asian Ministries of Education Organisation (SEAMEO), United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), Australian Council for Education Research (ACER). Available at: https://www.seaplm.org/PUBLICATIONS/regional%20results/the%20southeast%20asia%20primary%20learning%20metrics%20program_%20thinking%20globaly.pdf. Accessed 28 August 2021.

  • ADB (2017) Asia-Pacific Sustainable Development Goals Outlook, Asian Development Bank (ADB), Bangkok, Thailand. Available at: https://www.adb.org/sites/default/files/publication/232871/asia-pacific-sdgoutlook-2017.pdf Accessed 25 August 2021.

  • AFD (2019) Financing TVET: A Comparative Analysis in six Asian Countries, Notes Techniques Technical Reports No. 56, Agence Française de Développement (AFD). Available at: file:///C:/Users/Jim/Downloads/nt-56-funding-tvet-asian-countries-christine-goncalves3.pdf. Accessed 30 August 2021.

  • Allerton C. (2020) Invisible Children? Non- Recognition, Humanitarian Blindness and Other Forms of Ignorance in Sabah, Malaysia, Critique of Anthropology. Available at: https://www.academia.edu/44731318/Invisible_children_Non_recognition_humanitarian_blindness_and_other_forms_of_ignorance_in_Sabah_Malaysia. Aaccessed 17 January 2023.

  • BBoS (2019) National Strategy for the Development of Statistics (NSDS), Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBoS), Bangladesh. Available at: http://www.paris21.org/sites/default/files/Bangladesh%20NSDS_2013-23_Final%20Cabinet%20approved.pdf. Accessed 27 August 2021.

  • Council of Foreign Relations (2022) Myanmar’s Troubled History: Coups, Military Rule, and Ethnic Conflict. Available at: https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/myanmar-history-coup-military-rule-ethnic-conflict-rohingya. Accessed 4 September 2023.

  • ESCAP (2021a) Bridging the Gap: Mapping Gender Data Availability in Asia and the Pacific, Technical Report, April. Available at: https://data2x.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/BTG-Asia-Technical-Report_FINAL.pdf#page=21&zoom=100,0,0. Accessed 22 October 2021.

  • ESCAP (2021b) Asia and the Pacific Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Progress Report, United Nations Publication. Available at: https://www.unescap.org/kp/2021/asia-and-pacific-sdg-progress-report-2021. Accessed 27 August 2021.

  • Floresta, J.K. (2022) Situating the Role Schools Have Played in the Mindanao Conflict, ISEAS Perspective 2022/66, 21 June. Available at: https://www.iseas.edu.sg/articles-commentaries/iseas-perspective/2022-66-situating-the-role-schools-have-played-in-the-mindanao-conflict-by-jonamari-kristin-floresta/. Accessed 4 September 2023.

  • GoC-MoEYS (2019) National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP) 2019–2023, Government of Cambodia Ministry of Education Youth and Sports (2019), Phnom Phen. Available at: http://www.nis.gov.kh/index.php/km/2-uncategorised/84-national-strategy-for-the-development-of-statistics. Accessed 27 August 2021.

  • GoM (2016) Republic of the Union of Myanmar, National Strategy for Development of Statistics, Government of Myanmar (GoM). Available at: file:///C:/Users/Jim/Downloads/NSDS_Core%20Strategies_Eng.pdf. Accessed 27 August 2021.

  • GoN-MoEST (2019) Sustainable Development Goal 4: Education 2030 Nepal National Framework, Government of Nepal Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (GoN-MoEST) Kathmandu, Nepal. Available at: https://moe.gov.np/assets/uploads/files/SDG_4_Nepal_National_Framework_(Final_Print_Ready_Copy)_July_2020.pdf. Accessed 27 August 2021.

  • Hopper, B. and M. Webber (2009) Migration, Modernisation and Ethnic Estrangement: Uyghur migration to Urumqi, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, PRC. Inner Asia, 11:10.1163/000000009793066460.

  • IZA (2017) The Private Schooling Phenomenon in India, A Review, Discussion Paper Series, IZA DP No. 10612, March. Available at: https://ftp.iza.org/dp10612.pdf. Accessed 20 October 2021.

  • Lall, Marie and Ashley South (2013) Comparing Models of Non-State Ethnic Education in Myanmar: The Mon and Karen National Education Regimes. Journal of Contemporary Asia, 36 (2), August, 298–321.

  • MoEYS (2019) Cambodia’s Education 2030 Roadmap, Sustainable Development Goal 4, Cambodia Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MoEYS). Available at: https://www.moeys.gov.kh/index.php/en/planning/2901.html. Accessed 27 August 2021.

  • MoEYS (2021) Cambodian Education Statistics, Cambodian Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MoEYS). Available at: https://www.moeys.gov.kh/index.php/en/stastic-and-indicator/about-statistic-and-indicator.html. Accessed 30 August 2021.

  • MoLIP (2017) Thematic Report on Education Census Report Volume 4-H, Department of Population, Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population (MoLIP), and UNFPA. Available at: https://myanmar.unfpa.org/sites/default/files/pub-pdf/4H_Education_0.pdf. Accessed 30 August 2021.

  • MoLVT (2019) A Review of Cambodia’s Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Data Systems, Asian Development Bank (ADB), not published.

  • Mon, Y. and P.T. Phyo (2016) After Long Delay, Religious Census Data Proves Less “Sensitive” Than Anticipated. Myanmar Times, 22 July. Available at: https://www.iseas.edu.sg/articles-commentaries/iseas-perspective/2022-37-migration-in-post-coup-myanmar-a-critical-determinant-in-shaping-the-countrys-future-by-aung-tun/. Accessed 4 September 2023.

  • Myanmar Information Management Unit (MIMU) (2014). Myanmar Census Update September 2014, Myanmar Information Management Unit.

  • Myo W., H.N. Htwe, and B. Sae (2021) The Right to Education in a Conflict Affected Area: A Case Study of Access to Basic Education in Rakhine Region, Myanmar. Journal of Human Rights and Peace Studies, 7, Supplemental Issue, 133–55.

  • SEA-PLM (2019) SEA-PLM 2019 Main Regional Report Children’s learning in 6 Southeast Asian Countries, UNICEF, Southeast Asia Primary Learning Metrics.

  • SEAMEO (2019) The Southeast Asia Primary Learning Metrics Program: Thinking Globally in a Regional Context, South East Asian Ministers of Education Organisation (SEAMEO), UNICEF, Australian Council for Educational Research.

  • UIS (2017) More Than One-Half of Children and Adolescents Are Not Learning Worldwide, UIS fact sheet. Available at: http://uis.unesco.org/sites/default/files/documents/fs46-more-than-half-children-not-learning-en-2017.pdf. Accessed 28 August 2021.

  • UIS (2021a) Continental Overview: Bridging Asia-Pacific Education Monitoring Frameworks and SDG 4, UNESCO Institute of Statistics (UIS), Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO), Association of Southeast Asian Nations and Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (ASEAN-), South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (SAARC), Pacific Community.

  • UIS (2021b) Guidelines for Data Collection to Measure SDG 4.7.4 and 4.7.5, UIS, Montreal. Available at: http://gaml.uis.unesco.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2021/06/Guidelines-for-Data-Collection-to-Measure-SDG-4.7.4-and-4.7.5.pdf. Accessed 22 October 2021.

  • UNESCO-UIS (2016) Country Readiness to Monitor SDG 4 Education Targets: Regional Survey for the Asia and Pacific Region, Information Paper No. 31, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Institute for Statistics (UNESCO-UIS), Montreal, Quebec, Ref: UIS/2016/SDG/TD/13. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.15220/978-92-9189-202-0-en© UNESCO-UIS 2016. Accessed 25 August 2021.

  • UNESCO (2017a) The Quality Factor: Strengthening National Data to Monitor Sustainable Development Goal 4. SDG 4 Data Digest 2017. Available at: http://uis.unesco.org/sites/default/files/documents/quality-factor-strengthening-national-data-2017-en.pdf. Accessed 26 August 2021.

  • UNESCO (2017b) Ed-Data Quality Assessment Framework (Ed-DQAF) to Evaluate Administrative Routine Data Systems, Manual for the Conduct of an Evaluation by a National Technical Team. Available at: http://uis.unesco.org/sites/default/files/documents/training-workshop-manual-data-quality-assessment-framework-2017-en_0.pdf. Accessed 27 August 2021.

  • UNESCO (2017c) The Data Revolution in Education, UNESCO, Information Paper No. 39, March.

  • UNESCO (2018) OpenEMIS Concept Note – Equity in Education Tracking and Monitoring Equity in Education Data Using an Open Education Management Information System (OpenEMIS), UNESCO, Paris. Available at: https://www.openemis.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/OpenEMIS_Concept_Note_Gender_en.docx. Accessed 30 August 2021.

  • UNESCO (2019) Beyond Commitments, How Countries Implement SDG 4, UNESCO, Global Education Monitoring Report. Available at: https://en.unesco.org/gem-report/node/3093. Accessed 28 August 2021.

  • UNICEF (2006) The State of the World’s Children in 2006. Excluded and Invisible, United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF), New York. Available at: https://www.unicef.org/media/84806/file/SOWC-2006.pdf. Accessed 30 August 2021.

  • UNICEF (2018) A Statistical Profile of Child Protection in Cambodia, United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Available at: https://www.unicef.org/cambodia/reports/statistical-profile-child-protection-cambodia. Accessed 30 August 2021.

  • UNICEF (2019a) Learning Against the Odds. Evidence and Policies to Support All Out-of-School Children and Adolescents in East Asia and Pacific, United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI), August. Available at: https://www.unicef.org/eap/media/3816/file/out%20of%20school.pdf. Accessed 30 August 2021.

  • UNICEF (2019b) Children Out of School, the Sabah Context, UNICEF, Ministry of Education Malaysia. Available at: https://www.unicef.org/malaysia/media/921/file/Out%20of%20School%20children%20%20(OOSCI)%20Accessible%20version.pdf. Accessed 22 October 2021.

  • UNICEF (2020a) SEA-PLM 2019 Main Regional Report Children’s Learning in 6 Southeast Asian Countries, United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), South Asia Primary Learning Metrics (SEA-PLM). Available at: https://www.unicef.org/eap/media/7356/file/SEA-PLM%202019%20Main%20Regional%20Report.pdf. Accessed 28 August 2021.

  • UNICEF (2020b) Review of Education Management Information Systems (EMIS) That Track Individual Student Data, Summary Report, Oxford Policy Management (OPM), United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF). Available at: https://www.unicef.org/eap/media/6031/file/EMIS%20summary.pdf. Accessed 28 August 2021.

  • USAID (2018) Cambodia Situational Analysis of the Education of Children with Disabilities in Cambodia Report. May, p. 33.

  • World Bank (2018) Ethnic Education in Myanmar Literature Review, World Bank Literature Review, 1.

  • World Bank (2020) International Development Association, Project Appraisal Document on a Proposed Credit in the Amount of SDR72.4 Million (US$100 Million Equivalent) and Proposed Grants in the Amount of US$70 Million from the European Union to the Republic of the Union of Myanmar for an Inclusive Access and Quality Education Project, World Bank, 5 February.