With the adoption in September 2015 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – which sets new development priorities, including for education through the fourth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 4) – and, in November 2015, of the Education 2030 Framework for Action at the 38th session of the UNESCO General Conference, the Education for All (EFA) cycle came to an end. With this edition of the Global Education Monitoring Report (GEM Report), the statistical tables are evolving to reflect the new education agenda. The tables have been reorganized to reflect and align with (a) the aspirational nature and great ambition of the Education 2030 agenda, which has at its core equity and inclusion and embraces a lifelong perspective; (b) the seven SDG 4 targets and three means of implementation, which are not only about access to, participation in and completion of education, but also have education quality at their core in terms of inputs, outputs, processes, learning outcomes and environments, and the skills youth and adults must be equipped with for decent work; and (c) a broad set of 43 internationally comparable thematic indicators, of which 11 are global indicators.
Consequently, the statistical tables of the GEM Report aim to be more comprehensive than in earlier reports, while reflecting significant limitations in terms of data availability and country coverage, particularly regarding some indicators that still need to be defined and developed. Accordingly, placeholders or proxy indicators are occasionally used. These statistical tables contain more indicators than in earlier reports, particularly on education quality, learning outcomes, youth and adult skills (including not only literacy and numeracy but also information and communications technology skills) and tertiary education. While aligned with the proposed thematic and global indicators, the statistical tables include additional indicators – such as repetition, dropout, and transition from primary to secondary education and from secondary to tertiary – which remain critical but were left out of the new indicator set.
In addition to administrative data provided to the UIS by education ministries worldwide, the statistical tables rely on data from other sources, including national, regional and international learning assessments; national and international household surveys, such as the Demographic and Health Surveys and UNICEF’s Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys; and bodies including the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), UNICEF, the United Nations Population Division (UNPD), the World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO). The new statistical tables are organized by targets and means of implementation instead of by education level (from pre-primary to tertiary) as was formerly the case; this results in some seeming anomalies, such as early childhood care and education coming after primary and secondary education. As in the past, the tables include domestic education finance, which, though absent from the SDG 4 targets, is a key means of implementation and an enabling factor to achieve the targets. Because of the comprehensiveness of the new statistical tables and the size constraints of the GEM Report, they continue to be presented in two versions: a shorter version in the printed report and a more complete version, containing all indicators to date, published on the GEM Report website.