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"Challenges in measuring the quality of education"
The Dakar Framework for Action provides a broad view of quality which includes attention to curriculum and teaching methods, life skills for coping with HIV/AIDS, teacher education and training, home-based early childhood care from birth, mother-tongue education, improved learning materials, local alternatives in materials production, learning standards, management and Education Management and Information Systems, links between formal and non-formal education, and integrating democratic values, all from a gender perspective."
"The UNESCO Institute for Statistics
In keeping with the importance of accurate data that looks at indicators f quality as well as measures of access, the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) was established in 1999 with a mandate to develop better information systems for monitoring progress in UNESCO's fields of competence including towards EFA and to promote a culture of evidence-based policy-making and decision-taking. UIS has begun the process of building partnerships with various organizations and will eventually do so with civil society and NGOs. Immediately after Dakar, the UIS launched Survey 2000 to collect the core data on education needed at the international level for monitoring education policies in general and EFA in particular. In 2000, as part of the Survey 2000 work programme, the Institute brought together over 300 education and statistics experts from 180 countries for the first round of an annual series of regional workshops aimed at familiarizing countries with the procedures for collecting good quality and reliable data on education.
An EFA Observatory has also been established within the UIS with major responsibility for the evaluation, monitoring and statistical interpretation of goals and targets set in the Dakar Framework for Action. To perform this task successfully, a major priority must be the development and sustained production of reliable indicators relevant to current EFA goals and targets. The Institute collects the data required to calculate 6 of the original 18 EFA indicators - 13 of which are included in Survey 2000 (see Appendices). Only one EFA indicator for which data could be collected via Survey 2000 was omitted, and the totality of core data will be used to develop new indicators as well and to pilot them in statistically more able countries. In the future, all indicators which can be disaggregated by gender will be disaggregated.
The importance of assessment
Focusing attention on the quality of education presumes the ability to define and measure it. Countries seriously pursuing EFA need to develop reliable means of describing the knowledge and skills that comprise quality basic education. Moreover, they must develop the technical and organizational capacity both to measure student achievement against these standards and to determine how school systems are carrying out their responsibilities. Countries in both the developed and developing world have showed a growing interest in assessment in recent years for reasons that relate not only to improved teaching and learning, but also to accountability and efficient allocation of resources, both human and financial. Significant improvements have been made in recent years in techniques for measuring student progress, and considerable attention has been paid to ways in which developing countries can use data to make the most effective and efficient use of limited resources.
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