Striving for quality education data in Liberia
Quality data is key when building robust, efficient education systems, as data can inform Government decisions on fund allocation, policymaking, and planning. It also helps develop accountability and transparency.
In Liberia, in December 2019, the Inter Ministerial Task Force on TVET and UNESCO jointly organized a workshop on data collection, processing and analysis. The workshop aimed to demonstrate to people at all levels of the education system, from school teachers to central Ministry staff, how to use an education management information system (EMIS) to support their work. An EMIS is a system that collects, integrates, processes, and disseminates data to support decision-making, policy-analysis, planning, monitoring and management for the education system.
“We will be able to know how many students we have. How many students have dropped out, and what is expected in the education system when it comes to statistics”.
County Education Officer, Cecelia Reeves, who attended the workshop, discussed the impact data collection can have. “We will be able to know how many students we have. How many students have dropped out, and what is expected in the education system when it comes to statistics” she said. She also called for the training initiative to be extended to Principles and other Education Officers. The Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr. Zeogar Wilson, who also attended the event, spoke of the Government’s commitment to continuing to develop education data in Liberia and thanked UNESCO for its support.
During the workshop, participants received hands-on training in extracting data from the EMIS and studied possible limitations when interpreting statistics. With this knowledge and skill, it is hoped that officers will actively use education statistics to demonstrate progress and to argue for priorities when it comes to resources allocation.
Looking ahead, the Government and the CapED Programme will continue to transform the quality of Liberia’s education data collection and analysis. Namely, in 2020, trained County Education Officers and the EMIS team will rollout training to all 124 District Education Officers at the county level and ensure that local data collection teams are established.
UNESCO’s Capacity Development for Education (CapED) Programme is supporting Liberia to enhance the quality of their data collection and dissemination. It will also be necessary to improve TVET data by training TVET institutions and the EMIS team in the particular needs of TVET indicators, for instance, including Labour Market Information.