Education systems

Hmong girls line up after their exercise during breaktime at a Primary School in Lao Cai, Vietnam.


Education systems

A broad range of validated, largely qualitative indicators of education systems and policies is needed to support monitoring of the Education 2030 agenda. While a global framework might be desirable, in practice a regional or subregional approach is more feasible.

While a global framework for reviewing education systems and policies might be desirable, in practice a regional or subregional approach is more feasible Click to Tweet


In 1996, the UNESCO International Bureau of Education (IBE) established the World Data on Education series. It has been a valuable source of information on education systems at the global level, but resource constraints plagued its development and there is no plan to update the series, which was last published in 2011.

UNESCO does provide other global databases of education systems related to compulsory and free education or TVET systems.

A more in-depth look into policies is provided by the World Bank’s Systems Approach for Better Education Results (SABER), launched in 2011. It examines 13 aspects of national education systems. For it to serve as a global monitoring tool, at least two issues need to be addressed: agreement on the scope, coverage and regularity of the reviews; and greater country ownership.


Monitoring may be best served at a regional rather than global level. Members of a regional entity are more likely to voluntarily exchange information on their education systems. Three examples stand out. The Eurydice Network on Education Systems and Policies in Europe, established in 1980, has grown into a network of 40 national units in 36 countries. The OECD’s Indicators of Education Systems (INES) programme was introduced in 1992. One of its three networks evolved in 2009 into the INES Network for System-Level Indicators (NESLI). The Organization of Ibero- American States has an education strategy and a specialized body to review progress on indicators, some of which are system-related.

The GEM Report makes a strong case for education system indicators to be monitored to facilitate dialogue and encourage governments to learn from one another at the regional level.