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Home > Education > Standards and Methodologies Accueil

Standards and Methodologies 

By comparing education data across countries, we can learn from the experience of others. It is therefore essential to ensure that data collected nationally and internationally are based on sound methodology and standards. The UIS employs the latest statistical techniques and methodologies, while providing guidance to Member States on the use of international standards.
International standards
Clear, well-defined standards provide a framework to ensure data comparability in national and international statistics. The UIS maintains the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) and supports countries in their efforts to implement this classification. In 2011, a revision to ISCED was formally adopted by Member States at the UNESCO General Conference. The updates reflect the diversification of education systems worldwide.
Rigorous standards and definitions for the UIS education surveys lay the foundations for cross-national data of high quality. For more information on UIS definitions, see our technical guidelines and online glossary.
Sound methodology is another prerequisite for reliable and comparable education indicators. We develop the methodologies used to define and calculate indicators for our education database, as well as for the monitoring of international targets associated with Education for All and the Millennium Development Goals. Some of our more recent methodological developments in the field of education include new measures of out-of-school children and a new model for age-specific literacy projections (GALP).

Featured Content

UIS Methodology for Estimation of Mean Years of Schooling
Information on household survey-based education statistics in the UIS Data Centre
Assessing Education Data Quality in the Southern African Development Community (2014)
Education Data Plan: Guide to Reporting International Statisitcs
UIS Methodology for Estimation of Mean Years of Schooling
Information on household survey-based education statistics in the UIS Data Centre
Assessing Education Data Quality in the Southern African Development Community (2014)
Education Data Plan: Guide to Reporting International Statisitcs
Guide to the Analysis and Use of Household Survey and Census Education Data
Global Age-Specific LIteracy Projections Model
Applying the Data Quality Assessment Framework (DQAF) in SADC Countries

Improving data quality

The UIS has developed several mechanisms to help countries implement sound statistical practices and apply international definitions and standards. 


The Data Quality Assessment Framework (DQAF) is designed to improve the quality of national education statistics. It entails an in-depth review of the ways in which a country produces education statistics, as well as an action plan for improvements. The DQAF is primarily being applied in African countries with the help of national statisticians and regional partners, namely UNESCO’s Regional Bureau for Education in Dakar (BREDA) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).


Data plans are designed to help countries apply international standards when transforming national data into international data that are reported to the UIS. The UIS works closely with national statisticians to precisely document the ways in which national data sources are used to complete the UIS international education survey. The data plan is a living document, designed to ensure that countries can report data consistently over time despite staff turn-over in national statistical offices. 


The UIS also regularly organizes training workshops for statisticians on a range of issues related to data collection and use. These statistical experts also provide valuable insight on ways to improve UIS survey instruments and methodologies.


Additional resources:


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