Out of School Children Initiative

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is ambitious, particularly in the education sector. In order to achieve the targets outlined, international organisations, civil society and national entities have come together in support a number of initiatives intended to advance progress through clear and refined guidelines. A fitting example is the Out of School Children Initiative (OOSCI). OOCSI is a product of a partnership between UNICEF, UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS), and the Global Partnership for Education. The Initiative provides a framework to improve access to education and reduce the number of out of school students by:

Noppakunthong, Wasinee. “Out-Of-School, Not Out of Reach.” UNESCO Office in Bangkok: UNESCO Bangkok, UNESCO, www.unescobkk.org/resources/photo-essay/out-of-school-not-out-of-reach-the-children-of-ban-nam-lo-lao-pdr/. Accessed 11 Feb. 2017.

Classroom in Ban Nam Lo

  1. Developing comprehensive profiles of excluded children using consistent and innovative statistical methods;
  2. Linking these profiles to the barriers that lead to exclusion; and
  3. Identifying, promoting and implementing sound policies that address exclusion.1

The partners determined that collecting and utilizing diverse and consistent data is of the utmost importance in ensuring policy can address the needs of out of school children.

Countries participating in this initiative were invited to report data on the out of school children through country reports intended to begin a dialogue around policy reform., A common issue across country reports  was the lack of detailed and/or comprehensive education data. For example, the ministry of education and UNICEF in Ethiopia noted that “a limitation was the unavailability of enrolment data by ethnic group.”2

In order to collect data on marginalized groups of students at higher risk of leaving school, regional offices of the Ethiopia go through an extensive process that includes comparing EMIS information to census data. The Ethiopian report explained, “The EMIS administrative data and other data sources do not capture enrolment by ethnic group. As a result it was not possible to analyze the disparity among the various groups.”3 OpenEMIS  tools help address these challenges with its customizable features for collecting enrolment data. This can include ethnic groups, as Ethiopia needed or age, as the 5 Dimensions of Exclusion require.
OOSCI also recognizes the need to monitor not only children who are out of school but also children who are at risk of leaving school. OpenEMIS responds directly to this need through a vulnerability index. Developed as central component of the EMIS enhancement project in the Maldives, OpenEMIS Core allows the MoE to configure specific risk factors to their OpenEMIS system and identify, through an index score, those students at risk of failing or dropping out. Risk factors can include absenteeism and low performance among others. In an upcoming post, we will highlight the approach to identifying vulnerable students in the Maldives.

  1. “Out-of-School Children Initiative.” UNICEF, UNICEF, 7 July 2015, www.unicef.org/education/bege_61659.html. Accessed 11 Feb. 2017.
  2. “Study on Out of School Children (OOSC) in Ethiopia.” Global Out of School Children Initiative, UNICEF, July 2012, http://allinschool.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/OSCStudyReport2012.pdf. Accessed 11 Feb. 2017.
  3. “Study on Out of School Children (OOSC) in Ethiopia.” Global Out of School Children Initiative, UNICEF, July 2012, http://allinschool.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/OSCStudyReport2012.pdf. Accessed 11 Feb. 2017.

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