The ﬁnal stage of the monitoring process involves the preparation of a report, which should present your findings, conclusions and recommendations.
The content and structure of the report will depend on your advocacy objectives and the audience you are trying to reach. However, certain elements are crucial,including:
The introduction should make a concise presentation of your organisation and the goal(s) of the report. You should explain what motivated you to undertake this monitoring exercise, the subject of the report, the time period it was conducted over, the sample used, and who carried it out. The introduction should familiarise the reader with the study´s primary conclusions. If it is well written, the introduction will attract readers´ attention and encourage them to read the rest of the report.
This section should include details about the research methods you used. For instance, you could provide information about the main data sources you used and whether you relied primarily on official data sources or conducted your own data gathering, in which case you should specify the methods you used. If you conducted interviews with children, parents, teachers or otherstakeholders, you should provide details about the number of people interviewed, the types of questions asked, etc. You should also acknowledge methodological limitations, for example if data was unavailable.
This section constitutes the main body of the report. Findings should be presented in a clear and succinct manner. You should present the evidence you gathered related to unequal enjoyment of the right to education (reflected in the data you gathered onoutcome indicators) as well as on the shortcomings you found in education policies, whether these policies were affected by resource constraints, and the processes through which these policies were formulated and implemented. This section should include an analysis of all the evidence you have gathered, explaining the ways in which that evidence reflects problems in terms of the right to education. See below for effective ways of communicating your findings.
6. Appendices and glossary
If you use technical terms in the report, you may want to include a glossary. Likewise, an acronyms list.
Adapt the report to your audience
Sometimes you may need to adapt the structure of the report for specific purposes. For instance, the structure of ashadow report to aUN treaty body would usually follow the structure of the corresponding government report, which in turn will typically be structured around each of the articles of the treaty in question.
Guidelines / tips
When drafting the report, you should follow some basic guidelines:
Ensure accuracy and credibility
The effectiveness of your whole monitoring exercise hinges on the quality of the evidence on which it is based. That is why it is socrucial to ensure that the evidence is accurate and your analysis rigorous and methodologically sound. Bear in mind that the institutions you criticise in your report (the Ministry of Education, the government, etc) may try to discredit your findings. So any inaccuracy in the data or unfounded conclusions could seriously undermine your credibility and the credibility of your report.
Consider the tone and language of the report
Make sure that evidence is presented in a clear and concise manner and that thelanguage and tone are not off-putting.
Ground your analysis in human rights standards
All monitoring exercises on the right to education should be grounded on the normative framework of international human rights law to which governments around the world have voluntarily committed themselves. Therefore, the report should make explicit reference to thehuman rights standards relevant to the findings of the report.
Make your report advocacy-oriented
When writing the report, think through how to present the findings in a way thatmaximises its advocacy potential. Your report should effectively communicate the data you have collected, make clear conclusions that articulate the main messages you are trying to communicate and make concrete and action-oriented recommendations.
The way you convey the evidence you gathered during the monitoring process is crucial for effective advocacy. Even the most robust findings may fail to reach policy-makers if they are not well presented.
Most likely during the monitoring process, you will have gathered a large amount of data. You should refrain from including all that data in the report, as large amounts of information is overwhelming for the reader and dilutes your key message(s).
In your report, you should include data that supports your main findings. You will also need to determine the level of technical specificity. Once you have decided which data to include, you should then think through how to convey that data. Generally speaking, while tables allow for the efficient presentation of a large amount of data in an organised manner, graphs and info graphics are often a more compelling way of communicating information to various stakeholders.
One great tool is UNESCO’sWorld Inequality Database on Education (WIDE), which can help you present inequalities in education in a unique, and engaging way, as illustratedhere. Users of this database can create maps, charts, infographics and tables from the data, and download, print or share them online. You may wish to consider using other data visualisation tools.
Education Report Cards, as used, for instance byPREAL, are another useful and eye catching advocacy tool used to present information on the performance of an education system in a format that is understandable to non-specialised audiences.
When presenting information about violations of the right to education you should contrast the data you have gathered with the legal commitments that the State has undertaken (nationally or internationally) or with the promises that the government has explicitly made to its citizens, as illustratedhere.
Based on the evidence you have gathered throughout the monitoring process, you can draw conclusions regarding a State’s compliance with its obligations and possible violations of the right to education.
Your conclusions should not just be a summary of the findings of your monitoring effort. Rather, you should use your findings as a basis for clearly and compellingly making a case that the State (or otherduty-bearers) is or has violated the right to education.
To begin writing the conclusions, you could make a preliminary list of conclusions and for each one of them write the supportive findings:
1. Conclusion #1
a. Finding #1a
b. Finding #1b
2. Conclusion #2
a. Finding #2a
b. Finding #2b
When writing your report, you will probably not present the conclusions in this manner, but this preliminary step will help to ensure that your conclusions are adequately backed up by evidence.
Based on the normative human rights framework, you may also specify whether the problems you found are related to thelack of necessary laws or policies,the inadequacy of those laws or policies and / or the lack of implementation of those policies.
You may limit your conclusions to the specific issues on the right to education that you have monitored, or you may also draw some conclusions from your monitoring exercise on moresystemic issues.
Without specific, concrete and actionable recommendations, there is little chance that your monitoring initiative will have concrete effects on policies and practices related to the right to education.
The recommendations should be based on an analysis of the shortfalls you found throughout the monitoring process with regards to the State’s obligations on the right to education.
When making recommendations based on your findings and conclusions, you should take into account that according to international human rights law, States enjoy a wide margin of discretion in selecting the means for implementing their obligations pertaining to the right to education. Therefore, it is necessary to draw a balance between making concrete recommendations (that could be actually implemented by the State) and not making them too specific, so that the State can determine which specific measures to adopt in order to fulfil its obligations regarding the right to education.
In most cases, you would address most of your recommendations to the State, which bears primary responsibility for the protection and fulfilment of the right to education. However, you may also make recommendations to other duty-bearers that have responsibility for an aspect of education policy (eg local governments), other State actors that can have an influence on education policies and practices (eg the judiciary) or other actors with influence (eg international financial institutions).
You may want to formulate both immediate recommendations that are easy to implement, as well as longer-term recommendations that address more systemic problems. For guidance, you can use thistool developed by CAFOD.