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02 August 2017

A total of 48 participants drawn from various departments of the Ministries of Education, Higher Education and Culture and Social Affairs, including education planners and statisticians from the central government and 10 governorates1, were trained to enhance their capacities to integrate SDG 4 targets into national education plans and measure the progress against thematic indicators as well as to report on education data for planning and management.

Mr. Obiero, Education/Economist at UNESCO Beirut and Ms Houda, Director Planning and Statistics, Syria, conducted both training workshops.

On behalf of the Minister for Education Dr. Nidal, the Secretary General of the Syrian National Commission for UNESCO, opened the training on SDG 4 and reaffirmed the Minister’s commitment to meeting the SDG 4 targets despite the crisis that continues to affect the education sector. He thanked UNESCO for the support provided in ensuring that students who dropped out of school continue to have access to quality learning through the integration of alternative accelerated learning programmes in the Syrian curriculum framework.

The training made use SDG 4 materials developed by UNESCO Secretariat and the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) and customized to fit the Syria context.

The sessions utilized brainstorming and group discussion that allowed participants to reflect on the global, regional and national perspectives of the SDG 4 education 2030 framework for action. The education status of Syria before the crisis, during the crisis and possibility after the crisis was illuminated. Participants also reflected on the implications of the SDG 4 targets and indicators based on the concepts of: learning, skills, provision, equity, participation, knowledge and resources. The key issues of measurement was the need for standardization for example in learning based on classroom, national and regional assessments. The participants had in-depth discussion of all the thematic indicators by reviewing the UIS meta-data on definition, purpose and calculation methods. In particular, the participants dwelt on data sources, limitations/gaps in data and measure to address the limitations.

At the end of the training, the participants were elevated into SDG 4 champions to advocate for the sensitization and advocacy of the SDG 4 targets and thematic indicators; document the mapping of SDG 4 targets and indicators to inform implementation and monitoring; and participate in special tasks teams to standardize the measurement of the thematic indicators.

Dr Farah, the Deputy Minister of Basic Education opened the training on education statistics on behalf of the Minister of Education and emphasized the importance of education data in informing progress and thanked UNESCO for the support provided that will provide an accurate picture of the education status.

The training made use of UNESCO materials developed for Syria and focused on several indicators2 through brainstorming and practical exercises. Emphasis was on concepts, purpose, computation and interpretation. Participants dwelt on ensuring that the data is reliable and meets the requirements to inform policy decisions. Through participatory approach, the participants identified the challenges they face in analyzing the data such as lack of population data and difficulties in computing indicators due to mass population displacement. Particpants agreed to make use of the current data to compute the education and statistics for the governorate, to conduct training sessions at the governorate levels and for their peers at the office as well as to organize a data analysis and report-writing workshop to generate governorate Statistical Digest. In this regard, UNESCO Beirut will provide technical support for a two-day Statistical Digest Validation Workshop in the near future.

 1- Damascus, Rural Damascus, Aleppo, Homs, Hama, Lattakia, Tartous, Alswedaa, Al Qounaitera and Al Hasaka

2-  Enrolment and school going age; Participation and coverage; Efficiency; School resources and performance ; Financial and equity; and Reporting, publication and dissemination