Can data alone inform decisions to bring about change?
Coral Coast, Fiji – When you open yourself up to transparency and share the evidence, you are able to see the issues and change your mindset, allowing you to change your results.
This was just one of the key messages shared this week at the Regional Summit on strengthening use of education information to inform change hosted by the Pacific Community’s (SPC) Educational Quality and Assessment Programme (EQAP).
Ministry of Education officials from 15 Pacific Island Countries shared their experiences and lessons learnt in terms of education data. Where they were as a country and how they can move forward learning from one another. Developing a divisional lens to identify evidence determines the strengths and areas required for improvement within education systems was something the delegates agreed.
Identifying the correct tools in gathering data and communication in the process of gathering data are pivotal in making decisions that bring about change. Moreover, the solutions are not in the data but in the individual, that is assessing the data and using education data to help policy makers getting to decisions that are both technically possible and politically feasible.
“Data usage is about people. Having the right people, in the right places with the right skills” Andrew Erbs, ICT for Education Consultant.
The Summit has been a great platform to share knowledge, information and practises among the countries and to discuss how the political contexts in individual countries and across the region factors in to how governments use information to inform education decisions. There has been widespread collaboration through presentations, discussions and storytelling; learning from one another’s experiences along the road to improving education outcomes in the Pacific.
The Kingdom of Tonga representative, Mr Hepeti 'Isoa Takeifanga stated that he agrees with looking for a common ground in understanding and in building a regional mechanism relevant to our context and building capacity of pacific expertise. Expertise to develop our Education Management Information Systems and to make sure it is applicable to every Pacific context even though we may have different requirements.
Representatives from the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu were represented at the Summit by their ministries of education senior officials. Development partners from the University of the South Pacific (USP), the Government of Australia, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, UNESCO UIS, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and UNICEF were also present.