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24 Jan 2024
12:00 - 14:00 CET

Event highlights: Missing Data and Inequities Summit

Wednesday 14 February 2024

12:00 to 14:00 CET 


Missing Data and Inequities Summit

On 14 February 2024, NORRAG organised the Missing Data and Inequities Summit to launch the book Achieving Equitable Education: Missing Education Data and the SDG 4 Data Regime. It was edited by Marcos Delprato, Senior Lecturer at the Centre for International Education, University of Sussex and Daniel Shephard, Postdoctoral Fellow in International Sustainable Development, Indiana University Bloomington.

The book is the fifth volume in the NORRAG series in International Education and Development. It critically explores education data gaps across regions, themes and levels of education, highlighting key relationships and disconnects between national, regional and global data needs and uses of data under the SDG4 data regime.



The event began with opening remarks by Moira V. Faul, NORRAG Executive Director, who mentioned how timely this launch was, as it happened right after a global event held at UNESCO and also discussing issues related to data. She noted that missing data is crucial for people working in education and development in an effort towards achieving SDG 4.

Following the opening remarks, co-editors Marcos Delpratol and Daniel Shephard briefly presented the book. Marcos mentioned that the aim of the publication is to showcase how the implementation and monitoring of the SDG 4 framework can be achieved by holistically approaching different dimensions of inequality, particularly representing all marginalised groups and also by improving the availability and quality of data. This can guide more robust evidence-informed policy decision-making. He said the contribution is also timelier given the data gaps of the key SDG 4 indicators, which remains an issue in monitoring progress. Most importantly, he noted that data gaps overlap with marginalisation.

Daniel noted that the book highlighted important regional and thematic differences in terms of the gaps in data systems. They also highlighted a share of challenges like continued structural differences in education data systems supporting policy and program changes that will improve educational equity. He underlined that specific groups of learners are continually left out automatically in educational data systems. He discussed that the underlying framework of SDG4 may also limit our ability to track different drivers of educational inequalities and how they intersect. He highlighted that despite the continued challenges, there is a need for collective action to address gaps and data production to improve educational outcomes.

The presentation was followed by a video showcase featuring chapter authors discussing the core ideas presented in their chapter. Marcos Delprato (University of Sussex), author of Chapter 2, presented a Conceptual Framework to Assess Missing Data for SDG 4, employing an innovative framework to analyse missing data along several dimensions to help obtain more accurate informed policy and planning for education.

Following the conceptual framework, three authors discussed the priorities for missing data and SDG 4 in their various regions. Alejandro Vera (UNESCO, Santiago), co-author of chapter 3, discussed how priorities for missing data and SDG 4 in Latin America and the Caribbean analyse the challenges and gaps of the educational data in the region, particularly missing data for certain groups. James Shoobridge (International Monitoring and Evaluation), who contributed to Chapter 4, focused on priorities for Missing Data and SDG 4 in the Asia region. He asks about the types of people and indicators that are mostly systematically underrepresented in educational data throughout Asia. In her video, chapter 5 author Karma El Hassan (American University of Beirut) also discusses key gaps for data on SDG 4 in the Arab Region, pointing out how the socio-political situation and widespread conflict and other crises have affected the quality and quantity of data collection in the region.

After this presentation, three authors discussed data and inequalities in SDG 4 data. Chiara Valenti (IDMC), who co-authored chapter 7, spoke on the missing education data on Internally Displaced People. She shared that internally displaced children go unnoticed in official records and, as a result, they are often unaccounted for in educational data. She was followed by Jacob Prehn (University of Tasmania), co-author of chapter 8, which focused on Indigenous Data Sovereignty and Missing Education Data. Jacob stressed that such data is a key component for indigenous peoples to attain good education. Helen Longlands (University College London), co-author of chapter 9, presented on the Missing Data and SDG 4. She highlighted some limitations and challenges associated with gender equality in education and the SDG with the measurement framework on the basis of the accountability for gender equality and education projects.

The video showcase was followed by a reflection by Pali Lehohla (Pan-African Institute for Evidence). Pali pointed out that the presentations reflect data on the matter of education in the context of leaving no one behind. Pali quizzed why there is increasing missing data among certain groups despite the massive technological advancements. He further shared that this is a result of a lack of continuity in policy efforts. He calls for the creation of partnerships for a sound policy to ensure inclusivity.

Amita Chudgar (Michigan State University), highlighting the central focus of discussion by the two panels, stressed the need for standardisation and harmonisation of well-designed systems for missing data. She believes this will capture those traditionally underserved by the existing system. She shared that the discussion of the two panels effectively reflect on macro and micro issues of how data systems work on a large scale and within regions. She then offered three main thoughts crucial for our commitment to SDG 4.


Panel 1

This was followed by the first-panel discussion featuring Dr. Nelson Oppong, Lecturer in African Studies and International Development, University of Edinburgh (moderator); Karma El Hassan, Associate Professor Measurement & Evaluation, American University of Beirut, Martín Scasso, Permanent Consultant, UNESCO Multisectoral Regional Office in Santiago and James Shoobridge Consultant at the International Monitoring and Evaluation. The focus of this panel was Gaps, Progress, and Localisation of the SDG 4 Data Regime in Four Regions. The moderator asked the panelists the following questions to seek responses: What are the most urgent changes needed in the education data systems in order to address the marginalisation of missing groups in their respective regions? What are the most promising changes that are underway in your respective contexts?

Here are summaries of each panelist’s intervention:

Karma El Hassan

Karma El Hassan, who focused on the Arab region, highlighted the quality of the informal, statistical information that is produced in the region in relation to international standards. She mentioned that Arab countries use different kinds of data in assessing the various frameworks. She calls for common education agendas to monitor the frameworks. Discussing what is promising, she shared that almost all countries have developed policies to leave no one behind in the region. She also stressed others, like the integration of refugees through transitional educational plans in the region. She added that countries have been working on improving their education system through annual reporting, the development of data portals, and the evaluation of educational systems.

Martín Scasso

Martín Scasso, who presented on Latin America and the Caribbean region, highlighted that the region employs different methodologies in the identification of vulnerable people. He also mentioned that the region is characterized by an imbalanced effort between the investment and production of data to improve education. He calls for the strengthening of integration systems of data to meet the growing demand. Regarding the promising change, he underlined the efforts to consolidate monitoring in the region. He also noted force innovation, which was developed during the pandemic to guide educational policies to detect early warning signs of school dropout.

James Shoobridge

James, discussing the gaps and progress in the Asian Region, shared that it is important to identify the main groups whose data are missing, such as poorly invisible children. He mentioned two critical challenges that beset the region, highlighting measurement in data storage and its usage in the learning environment. He also noted the difficulty of comparing data from different sources. James shared that the current efforts to track children within certain ministries will enhance the exchange of information among sectors to build national records. He also added that the drive towards decentralisation of data management and access from the institutional level down to the individual level is crucial in closing the data gaps in the region.


Panel 2

A second panel, moderated by Anne Smiley, Deputy Project Director, International Rescue Committee, presented a discussion on Data and Inequalities in SDG 4 Data with Helen Longland Lecturer, University College London, Rosie Peppin Vaughan Lecturer, University College London, Chiara Valenti Research Associate, IDMC and Marcos Delprato, University of Sussex, serving as panelists in this session.

Here are summaries of each panelist’s intervention:

Helen Longland and Rosie Peppin Vaughan

Helen, who responded to the question of what the biggest misconception about education data in terms of gender is, underlined the notion that gender parity is seen as  a sufficient way of measuring gender equality. She also discussed the perception of thinking differently and comprehensively about gender equality in collecting and using data for a reflection of gender inequalities in different contexts.  Rosie’s contribution was related to those opportunities that lie at the intersection of education, data, and gender. She discussed that the increasing pace of technological advancement is crucial to improving gender data in education. She also highlighted that lobbying and advocating for improvements by collaborating with other organisations will ensure the sharing of knowledge to make better use of existing data.

Chiara Valenti

Chiara was asked about the biggest misconception of education data in terms of internal displacement. She pointed out the idea that existing national education systems are capable of adequately capturing the needs and challenges faced by internally displaced people. Chiara discussed that countries are reluctant in certain contexts to recognise internally displaced people. She argued that this leads to their complete invisibility in educational data.

She believes that the situation calls for more capacity development for collaboration to streamline approaches to improve statistics and ensure ethical data management. She also highlighted that strengthening institutional information systems on pre-existing displacement datasets will help refine data on children displaced. Lastly, she underlined the importance of IDMC severity assessment, which analyses and assesses the severity of the conditions of internal displacement, including access and quality of education.

Marcos Delprato

Marcos spoke about the biggest misconceptions regarding drivers of inequality data. He discussed the problem associated with the UNESCO Institute for Statistics framework in data collection due to its narrow and simplistic nature. He noted that the framework is not fully comprehensive due to its overlapping disadvantages given by its gender, location and wealth classification. He also added that the drivers employed are statics across the life course. On promising changes in the framework, Marcos discussed the combination of data from different sectors to push for regional compatibility, like the current model in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The Missing Data and Inequities Summit was closed by Moira Faul, who offered an overview of NORRAG’s works and upcoming events. She then thanked the speakers, moderators, panelists, participants, authors, and editors for their work on this publication, which is now available in open access.


  • Opening Moira V. Faul, Executive Director, NORRAG
  • Book Overview
    • Marcos Delprato, Senior Lecturer at the Centre for International Education, University of Sussex
    • Daniel Shephard, Postdoctoral Fellow in International Sustainable Development, Indiana University Bloomington
  • Chapter videos
  • Discussion Pali Lehohla, Founder, Pan-African Institute for Evidence
  • Panel Introduction Amita Chudgar, Professor of Education Policy, Michigan State University
  • Panel 1: Gaps, Progress, and Localisation of the SDG 4 Data Regime in Four Regions
    • Moderated by Nelson Oppong, Lecturer in African Studies and International Development, University of Edinburgh
    • Karma El Hassan, Associate Professor Measurement & Evaluation, American University of Beirut
    • Martín Scasso, Permanent Consultant, UNESCO Multisectoral Regional Office in Santiago
    • James Shoobridge, International Monitoring and Evaluation Consultant
    • Ernesto Yáñez, Permanent Consultant, UNESCO Multisectoral Regional Office in Santiago
  • Panel 2: Data and Inequalities in SDG 4 Data
    • Moderated by Anne Smiley, Deputy Project Director, International Rescue Committee
    • Marcos Delprato, Senior Lecturer at the Centre for International Education, University of Sussex
    • Helen Longland, Lecturer, University College London
    • Rosie Peppin Vaughan, Lecturer, University College London
    • Chiara Valenti, Research Associate, IDMC
  • Closing

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