What UNESCO does on Education policy and planning

Through its global network UNESCO supports education policy development, in-country, regional and global policy analyses, and national strategic planning processes all within the framework of the global education agenda, SDG4-Education 2030 and the targets of SDG4. Major progress has been made towards increasing access to education at all levels and increasing enrolment rates in schools particularly for women and girls yet bolder efforts are needed to achieve universal education goals.

UNESCO works to keep pace with the growing demand for education policies and strategic planning produced by a rapidly evolving global environment. The Organization works through policy advice and knowledge building, capacity development, technical assistance and normative work. Throughout, there is a focus on promoting equity and inclusion in education systems through measures such as better targeting of resources and interventions, and establishing adequate monitoring and evaluation mechanisms.

Policy reviews

Education sector policy reviews involve conducting a critical analysis of both internal and external aspects of an education system. Education authorities review the internal dynamics of the education system from various angles, as well as the external conditions affecting educational provision. UNESCO provides technical assistance and capacity-building support for national counterparts in conducting these analyses and reviews. Policy reviews are tailor-made to fit the particular needs of countries and may include themes such as overall assessment of the education system, capacity-building of teachers and school principals, curriculum development, policies for evaluation and assessment of achievement and mobile learning. In addition, these reviews act strategically to promote dialogue, exchange and peer learning around education challenges and related responses. They offer an opportunity to nurture national reforms in education, with lessons learned from the international knowledge base for eventual alignment with SDG4-Education 2030.

Sector-wide planning

UNESCO supports the development and strengthening of national education sector planning to achieve SDG4 and its targets. Educational planning is the framework to guide the setting of priorities and budgets. Successful planning involves wide consultative processes bringing together all stakeholders to ensure national ownership and alignment with the country’s socioeconomic development and long-term vision.

UNESCO supports sector-wide planning, especially in countries facing particular challenges in achieving education and development goals and lacking the required institutional capacities. It works closely with the International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP), specialists in strategic planning to effect education reform and system transformation.

Technical Guidelines for UNESCO field offices - Mainstreaming SDG-4 Education 2030 in sector-wide policy and planning have been produced to provide a basic resource to ensure adequate technical support to national authorities and Member States.

Education Management Information Systems (EMIS)

Developing sound policies and plans requires quality data and information. The development of education management information systems (EMIS) is key not only to ensure evidence-based policy and planning but also to support education reforms and programme implementation, particularly through regular monitoring and evaluation. UNESCO focuses on enhancing the monitoring and evaluation processes while strengthening national capacities in the development and implementation of sector-wide EMIS.

Knowledge sharing and creation

UNESCO produces a wide series of working papers  to enrich and contribute to the development of education policies.

Organized by UNESCO and ITU, The Mobile Learning Week 2017 Policy Forum has contributed to awareness of education in emergencies and how different technologies can be utilized to ensure access and inclusion to quality education in different contexts.

In addition, UNESCO coordinated the International Symposium on Education Policies at its Paris Headquarters which explored public policies that contribute to the achievement of SDG4 in Member States through the use of governance, school leadership and monitoring and evaluation.