What UNESCO does on Education Systems Reform

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.

UNESCO works to keep pace with the growing demand for education policies and strategic planning which is the product of 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 in education systems through measures such as better targeting of resources and interventions, and establishing adequate monitoring mechanisms.

Policy reviews

Education sector policy reviews or analyses consist of conducting a critical analysis of both internal and external aspects of an education system. Education institutions 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 education administrations 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, curricular 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.

Sector-wide planning

UNESCO supports the development and strengthening of national education sector planning to achieve the targets of Sustainable Development Goal 4. 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 planning.

UNESCO provides support for sector-wide planning, in particular to 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.

Quality data

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 programmes 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.

Reconstruction and reform

UNESCO is increasingly called on to respond to emergency situations and to contribute to the reconstruction of education systems following natural disasters or armed conflict. The process of reconstruction offers opportunities to introduce deep reforms and UNESCO mobilizes broad expertise and inter-sectoral approaches to support reform processes and policies that make education systems more inclusive, equitable and effective in sustaining development.