KIX Africa 19 Hub Country Pages Provide Basic Information on Education Systems

Posted: 02 February 2024

Gabriel Mekbib and Kevine Uwingabiye are both consultants with UNESCO IICBA. Quentin Wodon is Director of UNESCO IICBA.

This blog was originally published on the IICBA website under the title 'IICBA Country Pages Provide Basic Information on Education Systems' on Wednesday, January 24th, 2024. Please note that the text has been slightly edited for clarity.

Image for blog
Credit: UNESCO IICBA

As a service to our partners and readers, UNESCO’s International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa website now includes country pages that covers KIX Africa 19 Hub countries. The webpages provide a brief introduction to selected issues and research relevant to each country’s education system and links to resources that may be useful to official of Ministries of Education and other education stakeholders. A special focus is placed on thematic areas from the Global Partnership for Education Knowledge and Innovation Exchange (KIX) initiative for which UNESCO IICBA manages the Secretariat of the KIX Africa 19 Hub. The goal is to update the webpages at least once a year. 

The country webpages start with a review of basic data on educational outcomes including learning poverty, educational attainment, and the human capital index. The focus then shifts to information related to the thematic areas of focus of the KIX Africa 19 Hub, namely: (i) learning assessment (ii) early childhood education; (iii) teaching & learning (iv) data challenge; (v) gender equality; and (vi) equity and inclusion. The webpages also include links to country documents as well as a range of other resources and websites.

Consider the case of Ethiopia as an example. Like many other African countries, Ethiopia is facing a learning crisis with 90 percent of 10-year olds considered learning poor, that is not able to read and understand an age-appropriate text by age 10. According to the World Bank and UNESCO Institute of Statistics (UIS data), the primary school completion rate was at 69 percent in 2021 for boys and 65 percent for girls. The lower secondary completion rate is much lower, with girls likely to trail boys although recent data are not available from UIS. Gross enrollment in tertiary education was at 13 percent for men in 2018 versus 8 percent for women. 

The country pages also include information on country’s Human Capital Index (HC) which combines health and education metrics to estimate the productivity of the next generation of workers. For Ethiopia, the HCI shows that: (i) the probability that a child will survive past age five is 94 percent; (ii) the years of schooling that a child is expected to complete by age 18 is 7.8 years; (iii) the level of learning that a child is expected to acquire is 348 on a scale where 625 represents advanced attainment and 300 the lowest attainment; (iv) the learning-adjusted years of schooling that a child is expected to complete, a measure combining the two previous measures is 4.3 years; (v) the adult survival rate of 15-year olds surviving until age 60 is 79%; and finally (vi) the probability that a child will not be stunted in early childhood is 63 percent. 

Based on those six variables, the expected productivity in adulthood of a child is estimated in comparison to full productivity that could be expected with full education and health. The estimate is that a child born in Ethiopia today will reach only 38 percent of its potential. This is lower than the average for sub-Saharan Africa region but higher than the average for low-income countries.

The country pages also offer information on one last statistic that may help make the case for the importance of investing in education for the country’s development. A country’s wealth mainly consists of three types of capital: (1) Produced capital comes from  investments in assets such as factories, equipment, or infrastructure; (2) Natural capital consists of assets such as agricultural land and both renewable and non-renewable natural resources; (3) Human capital is measured as the present value of the future earnings of the labor force, which in turn depends on the level of educational attainment of the labor force. The latest estimates from the World Bank suggest that human capital wealth in Ethiopia accounts for 69 percent of national wealth. 

Apart from basic data, the webpages provide links to the literature at a global level and for each country on the six KIX themes mentioned above. For each topic, a link is provided to the GPE KIX Discussion paper written at the start of KIX in 2019 and additional publications that could be useful for policy. By necessity, to keep the webpages short, only a few resources are mentioned, but additional resources can be accessed through digital repositories.

The webpages also include information on the countries’ education system and policies. For Ethiopia, this includes among others the country’s Education Sector Development Programme which covers the period from 2020/21 to 2024/25 and the Ethiopian Education Development Roadmap (2018-30). Links are also provided to recent studies such as a public expenditure review for education completed by the World Bank. Other organizations also have useful information. This includes UNESCO’s Profiles Enhancing Education Reviews (PEER) covering the themes of the Global Education Monitoring reports, including: inclusion in education (2020 Report), non-state actors in education (2021/22 Report), technology in education (2023 Report) and leadership in education (2024/25 Report, forthcoming). PEER also covers additional topics on key SDG 4 issues, including financing for equityclimate change communication and education, and comprehensive sexuality education. Another example is the World Bank’s Education Policy Dashboard, for which Ethiopia is a pilot country.

Only a few links to the literature on education by theme for each country are provided in the country pages, but repositories of digital resources facilitate access to the literature. A few of those repositories are listed on each country webpage by alphabetical order:

Country pages also offer links to the websites of many organizations that include useful information for countries. For Ethiopia, this includes the GPE Ethiopia Country PageUNICEF Ethiopia Country PageWorld Bank Ethiopia Country PageUNESCO IIEP Country Page. It is also often useful to download data from multi-country databases. The largest database on development, including education data, is the World Bank’s World Development Indicators (WDI). The World Bank also maintain the Education Statistics (EdStats) database. Both World Bank databases rely in part for education on data from the UNESCO Institute of Statistics. UNESCO also maintains the Global Education Observatory and the World Inequality Database in Education (WIDE), as well as a wide range of other databases. Specific estimates are occasionally maintained by other agencies. For example, UNICEF provides data on out-of-school rates, adjusted net attendance rates, completion rates, foundational learning skills, information communication technology skills, youth and adult literacy rates, and school-age digital connectivity. Another useful reference is StatCompiler which provides data at various levels of aggregation from Demographic and Health Surveys across countries and over time, including Ethiopia. For comparison purposes, data from the OECD for member and partner countries (including South Africa) can be useful.

We hope the country webpages and the links therein will be useful for your work.