International Education Statistics, Part 2

Want to find national reports written by the various ministries of education from around the world? How about comprehensive educational reports supplemented with data from other sources pertaining to these various countries? What about national policies for education? Guiding principles? Curriculum plans promulgated from the national levels? UNESCO’s International Bureau of Education is a great starting point. Going back to the 1930s, participants at the International Conference on Education prepared national reports on the state of their educational systems. These reports, mostly in English are available online, in most cases back decades. These documents form the core for the World Data on Education project that concentrates on each country with additional information culled from appropriate in-country agencies. Again, almost all the reports are in English, and even if they aren’t, the charts/tables are easily recognized for what they are. Each profile lists the major laws dealing with education,, includes a flowchart or table of organization of the national education system, a breakdown of instructional time, qualifications for teachers, and a list of supplemental resources, many of them linked. This present 7th edition offers information for 2010/2011; most countries are present with their reports.

The UNESCO Institute for Statistics offers a wealth of information on education. It publishes the annual Global Education Digest; each volume in the series revolves around a specific topic. The 2012 edition addresses school dropouts (or “school leavings”). The information is current through 2010, and the numerous tables make for easy comparisons among countries. UIS also has informative country and regional profiles, fact sheets on key issues, and a large documents library of apposite material.

Another reliable source is contained in the OECD Education at a Glance 2013, a huge compendium of statistics and tables on topics not covered in any of the above sites. It covers OECD countries as well as other G20 countries. Base data range from 2009 to 2011. Country notes from the main volume have been extracted, and other country-specific documents are readily accessible.

The World Bank presents its own numbers in its EdStats: Education Statistics portal. This is comprised of numerous country profiles containing dozens of learning indicators. The site contains a current blog as well as global analyses as data visualizations.

International test-taking results/statistics are widely followed/quoted in the media and other educational outlets. Here are the results for the three major international tests: Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS); Program for International Student Assessment (PISA); and Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMMS). Dozens of countries have partaken in these evaluations over the years, and the results can be quite eye-opening.

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