telling the story of education in africa

The purpose of the Unlocking Data initiative is to build a community of practice that connects individuals and organisations for the purpose of learning and sharing. The community of practice includes African scholars, NGOs, national statistics offices and policy-makers who are working to improve access to and use of education data, largely at the country level. The intended outcome is to increase the effectiveness of members in their efforts to ‘unlock’ education data, increasing its availability and use for analysis that will improve education for young people.

the problem

Microdata relating to education in Africa is difficult to access and for African researchers and policymakers, the collection of primary data is often beyond their financial resources. Unlocking the patchwork of data collected for administration, assessment, baseline evaluations, landscaping studies and feasibility assessments would give decision-makers a full picture of the state of education in their countries. Giving scholars and policymakers in these regions access to this data will not only increase the generation of locally relevant knowledge, it can also be used to grow local capacity for analysis — enabling more African researchers to produce outstanding publications, leading to more uptake of the evidence. The issue of increasing access is a complex one, work is needed not just on accessing data but also increasing capacities to collect, analyse and use data.

Our approach

Discussions at our workshops and steering group meetings have indicated that the first action needed to achieve our goal of unlocking education data is mapping current data availability on topics and geographies of relevance to the community. The mapping will ask the following questions: What do we know about what exists? What are the gaps and what more do we need? Diagnosing the current situation is a necessary baseline in advocating for change. At this stage, we will not focus on any particular type of data but instead cover a broad landscaping of education data sets known to the community of practice.

You can read more about the outputs of previous workshops here.

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“The biggest gap is the use of evidence to connect trainers and employers to transform the way youth access opportunities post-training.”

John Mugo, Zizi Afrique