“We Need More than Just a League Table on Learning”

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Education in post-2015 needs to be about the quality of learning

We are all being asked to provide feedback on how to measure post-2015 education goals and targets through a public consultation launched by UNESCO through its Institute for Statistics. The list of proposed indicators is both inspiring and daunting. On the one hand, it marks the start of a monitoring framework designed to get all children into school and learning. But ultimately will it just lead to the production of nice league tables that tell us which countries are doing well and which badly?

No! One of the biggest lessons learnt from the Millennium Development Goals is the critical role of benchmarking progress. But benchmarking alone is not particularly helpful and can even be harmful. Low rankings can demotivate countries – from the minister of education to the teachers and students in classrooms. Benchmarking or comparisons can also lead to superficial copying of high performers’ practice.

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