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The UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) aims to:

• Gather a wide range of quality statistical information to help Member States analyze the efficiency and effectiveness of their programmes and to inform their policy decisions;

• Interpret and report on the global situation with regard to education, science and technology, culture, and communication;

• Develop new indicators to better reflect emerging policy issues, especially in developing countries;

• Set and apply standards so that data are cross-nationally comparable;

• Reinforce national capacities enabling Member States to improve the quality, analysis and use of national and international data.

Work programme

The Institute's current programme includes:

• Improve the quality of education data collected through annual surveys, in co-ordination with OECD and Eurostat through the shared UOE (UNESCO-OECD-Eurostat) methodology in order to obtain a core set of quality education data, covering all levels of formal education from pre-primary to tertiary, as well as literacy and educational attainment data. 

• Develop benchmarks and monitoring international goals, especially the Millennium Development Goals (see 3.3.5) and the objectives of Education for All (EFA).

• Develop and maintain key measurement frameworks and classifications (e.g., ISCED) and developing new indicator methodologies.

• Work with Member States to reinforce national capacities in the production and use of education statistics, particularly in Africa and Asia.

• Analyze and interpret education data - i.e. turning data into information.

• Produce international report on results from countries participating in the Literacy Assessment and Monitoring Programme (LAMP).

Data dissemination and analysis

• The UIS releases education data three times a year (January, May, and October) through its on-line Data Centre ( It also contributes education data to all major international reports such as the World Bank's World Development Indicators, Education for All Global Monitoring Report, UNDP Human Development Report, UNICEF's State of the World's Children, the Millennium Development Goals report and others. The UIS also collaborates with regional organizations. The annual UIS flagship publication for education statistics is the Global Education Digest. 

• Other publications are available in print or CD-ROM formats and for consultation via the UIS website (, including:

• statistical profiles and fact sheets (country and issues-based);

• thematic research and analysis;

• education electronic atlases.

Ongoing work

• Work with Member States to map education systems to the newly revised International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED 2011).

• Improve indicator methodologies to monitor progress towards education goals and take part in elaboration of indicators to monitor post-2015 targets.

• Improve transparency and use of international education indicators.

• Undertake projections of literacy and educational attainment indicators.

• Redesign data collection instruments; implement regional modules.

• Analyseindicators on secondary and higher education, education financing and children out of school.

• Directly assess reading and numeracy skills among youth and adults in countries participating in LAMP.

Priority objectives beyond 2013

• Benchmark and improve data quality.

• Monitor education progress beyond 2015.

• Reinforce statistics on human development (e.g. gender equality, education outcomes as well as science, technology and innovation).

• Produce more policy-relevant indicators.

• Promote greater access to and use of UIS data.

New work to be undertaken in 2013

• Analyse indicators for sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America regional modules.

• Develop global modules on teachers.

• Improve education finance statistics.

• Implement new ISCED fields of education classification.

• Strengthen quality of educational attainment data.

• Implement education survey redesign.

• Improve data visualization and presentation on UIS website.

• Implement catalogue of student achievement assessments and examinations.

Meetings to be organized in 2013

 • Measuring educational attainment expert meeting.

• Regional and global workshops on children out of school.

• Regional and cluster education statistics workshops (in Central and West Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Central Asia and the Arab States).

• National data plan workshops.

• National workshops in selected countries to reinforce capacities to compile, report and use education finance data for policymaking.