The second edition of the Global Education Monitoring Report (GEM Report) presents the latest evidence on global progress towards the education targets of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

With hundreds of millions of people still not going to school, and many not achieving minimum skills at school, it is clear education systems are off track to achieve global goals. The marginalised currently bear the most consequences but also stand to benefit the most if policy-makers pay sufficient attention to their needs. Faced with these challenges, along with tight budgets and increased emphasis on results-oriented value for money, countries are searching for solutions. Increased accountability often tops the list.

The 2017/8 GEM Report shows the entire array of approaches to accountability in education. It ranges from countries unused to the concept, where violations of the right to education go unchallenged, to countries where accountability has become an end in itself instead of a means to inclusive, equitable and high-quality education and lifelong learning for all.

The report emphasises that education is a shared responsibility. While governments have primary responsibility, all actors – schools, teachers, parents, students, international organizations, private sector providers, civil society and the media – have a role in improving education systems. The report emphasises the importance of transparency and availability of information but urges caution in how data are used. It makes the case for avoiding accountability systems with a disproportionate focus on narrowly defined results and punitive sanctions. In an era of multiple accountability tools, the report provides clear evidence on those that are working and those that are not.

Aimed at actively engaging parents, children, teachers, unions, communities and local civil society organisations in collectively monitoring and improving the quality of public education PRS offers a set of practical tools that can be used as a basis for mobilisation, advocacy and campaigning. The pack provides four key resources:

1) A charter of 10 rights which, when fulfilled, will enable all children to complete a good quality education;

2) A participatory methodology for: using the charter; collecting, analysing and using data; and consolidating information into ‘citizens reports’ that could be used for the development of Action Plans or to encourage discussions and reviews at local, district and national levels;

3) A series of education- and rights-based indicators organised in a survey format to enable users to capture information in a systematic manner;

4) A compilation of key international human rights references providing the foundations and legitimacy of the charter and reports

PRS builds on education and human rights frameworks to describe an ideal school that offers quality education. Its methodology supports links between programme work at the school level and advocacy and policy efforts in national and international forums. The process is as important as the outcome: it is only through engaging all stakeholders in the process - from developing the charter to collecting and analysing the data and debating the findings - that we will promote greater awareness of what needs to change and how.

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