The Global Education Monitoring Report (the GEM Report, formerly known as the Education for All Global Monitoring Report) is an editorially independent, authoritative and evidence-based annual report published by UNESCO. Its mandate is to monitor progress towards the education targets in the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework. The substance of the GEM Report is developed and its quality assured by an experienced team under the leadership of the GEM Report Director.
The GEM Report is a singular, comprehensive, analytical and authoritative reference for the global follow-up and review of education. With 13 reports produced since 2002, the Report has acquired extensive experience in monitoring and policy analysis and a global reputation for excellence, covering themes ranging from inequality, gender and teaching and learning to conflict, literacy and early childhood care and education.
The movement to ensure a sustainable future for the planet has set forth an ambitious universal vision for development, including an education goal and 10 specific targets. The GEM Report tracks progress and considers effective policies in relation to these targets, deriving evidence-based findings and recommendations for policy-makers and other stakeholders to use in their work. It serves as an invaluable global resource and advocacy tool, promoting informed dialogue and increasing public awareness of education’s central role in achieving sustainable development, and the challenges to achieve quality, equitable and inclusive lifelong learning for all by 2030.
The GEM Report draws on the latest available data and evidence, and commissions extensive research from leading experts around the world. The Report is launched in over 50 countries, receiving significant press coverage and garnering visibility in specialist journals and social media. Alongside the full GEM Report, many additional related publications and online tools are produced to enable different stakeholders – for example, teachers, policy-makers, youth, civil society organizations and donors – to benefit from its research. The GEM Report has also developed the World Inequality Database on Education (WIDE) to draw attention to the extremely high levels of education inequality across countries and between groups within countries, with the aim of helping to inform policy design and public debate.
The GEM Report influences national, regional and international policy-makers in education and finance as well as planners, policy analysts, aid agencies, foundations, UN organizations, NGOs, teachers, experts, researchers, the media and students.
The GEM Report team’s mandate to monitor global education under the EFA and Millennium Development Goals frameworks has now been renewed to do the same under the SDG Framework. Armed with this renewed mandate, the team embarked on a new series of internationally focused education monitoring reports, which started in 2016. From now until 2030, these reports will analyse global education trends and advocate for effective education policies and practice in the next decade and beyond. Drawing on a well-tested model and extensive accumulated experience, the GEM Report team is uniquely placed to keep the international community informed about progress and challenges in achieving education targets and priorities by 2030.
The first report in this series, launched in the fall of 2016, Education for people and planet, situated education’s role in the post-2015 sustainable development agenda and design a framework for the monitoring of internationally agreed targets in education. The Report’s Advisory Board has already confirmed the theme of the 2017 GEM Report, the vital issue of accountability, and the 2018 GEM Report: migration.
The GEM Report team thanks all recent funders including the governments of Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom; the Hewlett, MasterCard and Open Society Foundations, UNICEF and UNESCO.
History of the report
The Global Education Monitoring Report (the GEM Report) launched in 2016. It was formerly known as the Education for All Global Monitoring Report, the prime instrument to assess global progress towards achieving the six Education for All (EFA) goals agreed upon at the World Education Forum at Dakar (2000)
Despite much progress towards the EFA goals, they were not reached by the 2015 deadline. In September 2015, at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit, Member States formally adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in New York. The agenda includes a new global education goal (SDG 4) to ‘ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all’ - with seven targets and three means of implementation. This goal came about through an intensive consultative process led by Member-States, but with broad participation from civil society, teachers, unions, bilateral agencies, regional and international organisations, the private sector and research institutes and foundations.
Accompanying the Sustainable Development Framework is the Incheon Declaration adopted by around 1600 participants at the World Education Forum held in Incheon, Republic of Korea in May 2015. The Declaration represents the firm commitment of countries and the global education community to a single, universal education agenda. The Education 2030 Framework for Action, which was adopted in November 2015 by representatives from some 180 Member States at UNESCO, outlines how to translate global education commitments into policy and practice at a country, regional and global levels.
Frequently asked questions
The report aims to inform and to influence national, regional and international policies in education, including in areas of financing and aid, through an authoritative, evidence-based review of progress and a balanced analysis of the most critical challenges facing countries and other stakeholders. The publication carefully examines the details of an ambitious agenda for education reform. Decision-makers – ministers, policy-makers, parliamentarians and education planners – are a prime audience.
Just as crucial is the broader constituency of civil society groups, including teacher associations, non-governmental organizations, university researchers, youth networks and the media. By enriching understanding of education issues, the report is a springboard for debate, knowledge-sharing and advocacy.
The new global education goal did not emanate from one single United Nations agency: rather it is the result of a collective process of discussion, debate, consensus building and partnership. As such, the report does not represent the voice of one organization or group of countries. It is an international project that tracks the performance of governments, communities, civil society, bilateral donors and international agencies towards the education goal by 2030.
Reflecting this spirit of partnership, the GEM Report’s Advisory Board, which meets yearly, includes representatives from all key constituencies and diverse world regions.
The Report has been financed through the generous support of bilateral and multilateral donors including UNESCO, UNICEF, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom; as well as private foundations such as the Hewlett, MasterCard and Open Society Foundations.
An international team of research officers and policy analysts based at UNESCO headquarters in Paris (France) draws upon a wide range of expertise to prepare the report. The team synthesizes specialized literature and commissions background papers from researchers and institutes around the world.
The Report’s advisory board brings together specialists and practitioners from different regions and provides guidance on the special theme chosen for each new report.
Since 2005, online consultations have also been organized in order to broaden the scope and content of each report.
The primary source of data is the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS), which provides a wide range of education related data, including on students, teachers, school progression, adult literacy and education expenditure. The UIS, based in Montreal (Canada), collects administrative data on education from over 190 national governments.
The GEM Report also compiles data collected from household surveys (e.g. Demographic and Health Surveys and the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey) as well as a variety of international, regional and national learning assessments.
The GEM Report publishes quality-assured data compiled so that statistics are internationally comparable across countries, using the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED). However, not all countries use the same classification systems, sometimes leading to discrepancies between national figures and those published internationally by UIS.
Differences can also stem from national population estimates: to calculate several indicators, the Institute uses estimates from the United Nations Population Division. These sometimes differ from population figures published by statistical units in individual countries.
More generally, the quality assurance process entails a time lag between the collection (and often the publication) of data by national governments and their release by UIS for use in this and other reports.
Global, regional and national launches organized throughout the year in all world regions generate strong press coverage and local interest. In addition to these events, launches are increasingly accompanied by policy seminars to engage decision-makers and parliamentarians in debates on the report’s key messages and recommendations. The report’s findings are also shared during ministerial meetings, international academic conferences, training courses for education practitioners and in seminars involving governments, donors, NGOs, researchers and teachers. They are also disseminated through the media and social networks.
Summaries of the GEM Report are available in the six UN languages (English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Russian) as well as several others (including Bangla, Bahasa Indonesia, German, Hindi, Japanese, Khmer, Portuguese, Thai and Vietnamese). The full report is also available in the official UN languages. All versions, together with background papers and statistical data are viewable on this website.