Using indicators to monitor the right to education

This Guide is designed to help advocates to strengthen theiradvocacy efforts by usinghuman rights indicators. The use of human rights indicators can help advocates build a strong case, based on empirical evidence, that there has been a violation of the right to education. Specifically human rights indicators can help users to:

  • Obtain evidence about the scope and magnitude of various forms of deprivations and inequalities in the field of education.
  • Reveal and challenge policy failures that contribute to the perpetuation of those deprivations and inequalities.
  • Assess the implementation and enforcement ofeducation laws and policies.
  • Uncover hidden forms ofdiscrimination providing standardised measures that can be compared across various population groups.

Each step of the Guide will explain which types of indicators you should use, how to select appropriate indicators using theIndicators Selection Tool, how to collect data for your chosen indicators and how to interpret that data from a human rights perspective.

Types of human rights indicators

This Guide uses three types of human rights indicators, which collectively enable you to monitor various aspects of the right to education:

  • Outcome indicators measure the extent to which a population enjoys the right to education. That is, they measure the impact of the State’s efforts to implement the right to education through laws, policies and programmes. For example,primary completion rates can tell us about the general level of enjoyment of free and compulsory primary education andpercentage of students at the lowest level of reading proficiency may, to some extent, tell us whether that education meets students’ basic learning needs and is of sufficient quality.
  • Structural indicators measure the commitments made by States to meet their obligations regarding the right to education, as reflected in the adoption of legal instruments and basic institutional mechanisms necessary for the promotion and protection of the right to education. For example, whether aState has ratified a human rights treaty that guarantees the right to education and incorporated it in to domestic law can tell us about the strength of commitment to the right to education of that State.
  • Process indicators measure the various types of efforts (such as education policies, education inputs, budget allocation, and programmes and measures to address specific education issues) being undertaken by the State, as the primaryduty-bearer, in implementing its obligations with regard to the right to education. Process indicators thus measure how the State is transforming commitment into concrete realisation of the right to education for all. For example,percentage of trained teachers measures a State’s efforts in realising the right to a quality education, and finance indicators, such as education allocation ratio, show the extent to which the government prioritises education in the budget.

By using all three types of indicators, it is possible tomake the connection between the enjoyment of the right to education and the commitments and efforts made by the State. The aim of this Guide is to enable users to show that low levels of enjoyment of the right to education are a result of State actions or inactions, whether it is because of lack of commitment and a failure to adopt laws and policies (measured using structural indicators) or because the efforts they have made are inadequate (measured using process indicators). By showing this you can build a strong case to show that there has been a violation of the right to education.

Indicators Selection Tool

In order to help you monitor the right to education, the Right to Education Project (RTE) has developed aRight to Education Indicators Selection Tool, containing over 150 indicators to monitor just about every aspect of the right to education. However, for your monitoring purposes, you will probably only need to use a small number of indicators which are directly relevant to your work. By default, the Tool will show all our indicators. However, when you select the relevant criteria it will eliminate the indicators you don’t need, leaving you a list of right to education indicators to use in your monitoring project.

The Tool has six selection criteria. For each one you can select the categories that are relevant to the issue you are monitoring. Below is a list of the selection criteria and categories:

1. Levels and Types of Education

2. Types of Indicator

3. Areas of Focus

4. Marginalised groups

5. Contexts

6. Policy Processes and Governance

So, if you wish to monitor the primary education of girls, under Levels and Types of Education you should selectPrimary and under the selection criteria Marginalised Groups you should selectWomen and Girls. The Tool will then eliminate all irrelevant indicators.

In order to further assist you, we have also provided information (where possible) on each indicator, including: definitions, comments on interpretation, where to find data, how data should be disaggregated, and relevant human rights standards.

The Tool has been designed to be user-friendly. At each step of this Guide you will be shown how to select the most relevant indicators for your project. You will also find further guidance in the Tool itself.

Please note that the Tool and the indicators are still being developed and tested. If you would like to contribute to this process, please send us your feedback, here.

Go directly to theIndicators Selection Tool.