Worldwide Education: The Stories Behind the Data

Bill and Melinda Gates believe that health, nutrition, and education are the most significant factors affecting global poverty.  In this Goalkeepers report, they review the state of progress in these areas, including education:

"For years, we’ve heard people question whether investments in the fight against global poverty have an impact. Clearly, we believe they do.  We are investing all our resources in that fight. But that doesn’t mean every dollar spent on development has maximum impact. And that must be our goal."  -- Bill and Melinda Gates


Excerpts from this report -- relevant to our Let's Leave No Girl Behind Project, in partnership with Adopt-A-Village Guatemala:

It’s relatively easy to count the number of children in school. But that doesn’t tell us how much those children are actually learning.
The SDGs rightly shifted the focus from just the quantity (e.g., enrollment and completion) to both the quantity and quality of education. Quality (i.e., achievement) is harder to measure, though. Many countries don’t generate any useful learning data at all, let alone in a globally comparable way. The first step is to develop better cross national assessments, particularly for early grades. We need to know early whether children are able to read, a prerequisite to all further learning.
Proportion of children and young people: in grades 2 and 3; at the end of primary; at the end of lower secondary achieving at least a minimum level in reading and mathematics, by sex:  INSUFFICIENT DATA
When women smallholder farmers have secure rights to their land, it can change their lives.
They have more bargaining power in their households, which means more impact on their family’s future. The SDGs include a goal explicitly about empowering women and girls, but it’s a sign of how much we’ve neglected this issue that only three of the 14 indicators under the goal have sufficient baseline data and are trackable. When the indicator about land tenure by sex was adopted, there wasn’t yet agreement about how to measure it. Since then, the UN has agreed on a definition, standards, and a methodology. We still have to test this approach and ensure that countries are equipped to track the indicator regularly. When we actually have the data on hand, it will be much easier to devise policies and programs that empower women and girls.
Proportion of total agricultural population with ownership or secure rights over agricultural land, by sex; and share of women among owners or rights-bearers of agricultural land, by type of tenure:   INSUFFICIENT DATA
Agriculture is key to driving poverty reduction, so it’s important to track small-scale producers’ productivity and income. Currently, though, many countries don’t collect agriculture data in a rigorous way, because it’s cumbersome and expensive.
There’s a powerful new methodology called the Agricultural Integrated Survey (AGRIS) under development that has the potential to collect high-quality data affordably. It uses a modular approach, with countries piecing together different sources of data and using efficient sampling strategies to paint an accurate picture. The priority now is testing and validating AGRIS quickly and making sure that donors help countries implement it and scale it up.
Volume of production per labor unit by classes of farming/ pastoral/forestry enterprise size:  INSUFFICIENT DATA


"It is a fact that disease and poverty are solvable. We invite everyone to focus on the solvable part of the equation. We have it within our power to decide how much of it actually gets solved. Let’s be ambitious. Let’s lead." -- Bill and Melinda Gates

Read more about GoalKeepers and related reports...

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