An education policy review is an independent evidence-based assessment of strategic policy domains which includes policy recommendations as well as specific project plans to be developed. In addition, and upon request of the national authorities, the policy review can include consultations to discuss these plans and coordinate efforts with international agencies. The overall objective of an education policy review is to help education authorities to strengthen their education system and contribute to the development of its capacities.
Typically, a policy review focuses on selected themes or sub-sectors, according to the particular needs of the Member State. Themes covered in reviews have included:
- overall assessment of the education system, focusing on quality and equity, and the ways in which contextual policies, regulations, structures and specific education policies and practices might be reformed to improve education in the country.
- teacher policies and capacity-building of teachers and school principals through an analysis of assets and the shortcomings of past and current situation and an assessment of the opportunities for effective change or reform in the present circumstances (e.g. teacher empowerment, academic status, promotion, professionalization, school leadership, social participation, multicultural education, student outcomes);
- curriculum development: learner-centred approaches, language proficiency, global citizenship, tolerance, and civic education;
- policies for evaluation and the assessment of achievement in relation to cross-national assessments such as PISA, O-Net, and other relevant indicators; and
- mobile learning utilizing ICT in education, including training for teachers.
The policy review process is estimated to take 28 weeks which includes a scoping mission, a country background report, a literature review, a benchmarking fact sheet, a fact-finding mission and a final report.
Education policy reviews are designed to provide technical assistance in carrying out a precise analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of an education system, drawing on the existing knowledge base, and with the overall goal of formulating policy recommendations in particular in the areas in which UNESCO can offer direct technical assistance.
They also aim at stimulating international debates around a wide range of education policy issues and objectives, including promoting equity, quality and relevance in the context of Education 2030. To date, reviews of Albania, Malaysia, St Kitts and Nevis, Thailand, and Zambia have been completed and Bahamas, Guatemala, Mozambique, Peru and Sudan are in process.