The world is experiencing a global learning crisis. 617 million children and adolescents worldwide are not reaching even basic levels in reading and mathematics, even though two-thirds of that group are in school.
But, how do we know about this problem? And how do we get the information we need to find solutions? The answer, simply put, is data.
Our ability to collect data on education (or any issue) helps us understand the problem, the scale, why it’s happening, and what we can do to change it. For example, we know that if everyone receives a primary and secondary education, we’ll be better able to lift 420 million people out of poverty. We would not have this knowledge without data.
Currently, we don’t have a consistent or comparable way of collecting data on learning. As a result, we’re lacking key information that we need to fully understand the whole problem.
For example, Nigeria — the most populous African country — hasn’t had nationally representative and comparable data on how well children can read and do mathematics at the end of primary school since 2010! Not only is this data out-of-date, it also can’t be easily compared with data sourced from countries that use different assessments.
These gaps in information make it more difficult to find the solutions that are needed. Without the right data, we can’t pinpoint what resources are needed, and where they’re needed, to get kids learning.
A Call to Action
We’ve been saying it for a while: real changes need to be made to education.
It’s clear that we need better and more accurate data to make those changes a reality, but collecting it comes at a cost. That’s why ONE has joined hands with 35 other organizations to call on global leaders and policymakers to fund data on education. Our goal is simple: make 2019 the year that we fund education data so that no one is left behind.
If the global community invests millions today, we can save billions in the future. Even better, we can ensure that children are able to achieve better educational outcomes and learn the skills they need.
Learn more about this bold call to action here.