UNESCO makes strong showing at CIES 2016 Vancouver conference

UNESCO led numerous panel discussions at the Comparative and International Education Society’s annual conference (CIES) from 6-10 March in Vancouver.

This international conference with over 500 sessions and 2,500 attendees allows for education researchers and professionals to meet and share knowledge on what works in educational development. In its 60th year, this year’s event took as its theme “Six decades of Comparative and International Education: Taking Stock and Looking Forward”.

Through a series of panels UNESCO shared knowledge on how to support national action strategies to render Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4) through the Education 2030 action plan relevant and operational.

Four UNESCO institutes took part

The four UNESCO Institutes, the International Bureau for Education (IBE), the International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP), the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL), and the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) joined some 2,700 education professionals and academics to exchange comparative, cross-cultural and international perspectives on the latest trends, issues and policies in education.

IBE-UNESCO organized and chaired a session on Re-positioning Curriculum in the Global Dialogue on Lifelong Learning and Sustainable Development which discussed the crucial role and potential of curriculum in the global development dialogue.  IBE-UNESCO also participated in a panel entitled “How do we define, teach, and assess reading? : Looking back and moving forward” which discussed IBE-UNESCO’s three-year (2013-2016) project, ‘Improving Learning Outcomes in Early Grade Reading: Integration of Curriculum, Teaching, Learning Materials, and Assessment which aims to support the Ministries of Education in Burkina Faso, Niger and Senegal in developing and implementing a more effective reading curriculum.  

IIEP-UNESCO organized a series of five panels on topics including crisis-sensitive educational planning, the use of learning assessment data for policy and planning in Asia, and internal quality assurance in higher education. An IIEP panel discussed the role of school grant policies whereby local schools receive funding directly from the government. The audience was eager to hear lessons from this extensive research project that has included over 200 schools in 14 countries.

UIL Director Arne Carlsen chaired a session on Globalization and Education which looked at global goals including the SDGs and ways forward and was a discussant on a series of papers given on ‘Education for All, UNESCO and the Future of Global Monitoring: Critical perspectives and professional influences’.

Eight workshops on how to monitor SDG 4

Participants were keen to learn about the new initiatives and approaches needed to monitor SDG 4, as presented by the UIS in a series of eight workshops and panel discussions. With the mandate to coordinate the development of the new global education measurement agenda, the UIS focused on three critical areas at CIES: equity, finance and learning outcomes.  After leading a high-level panel on education finance with the IIEP, the UIS focused on learning outcomes, another key priority of SDG 4. 

Sobhi Tawil, Senior Education Specialist, Education Research and Foresight, UNESCO chaired a session which included four regional presentations on Asia and the Pacific, Africa, Arab States, and Latin America and the Caribbean, each highlighting perspective and findings with regard to i) EFA’s main achievements, challenges and lessons learnt; ii) Education 2030 regional and national targeting setting processes  iii) Regional M&E mechanisms for monitoring progress of Education 2030 targets; iv) Strategies for regional and inter-regional cooperation, partnerships and resource mutualization.

The Global Education Monitoring Report (GEM) was also represented at the event with Director Aaron Benavot contributing to several discussions and presenting Monitoring international targets in education: Retrospect and prospects.


Global Education Monitoring Report (GEM)
International Bureau for Education (IBE)
International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP)
UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning
UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS)