Using data and evidence to transform educational policy and planning

IIEP is launching a new series of four Strategic Debates focusing on evidence-informed policy and planning – from design to implementation. 

Each debate will focus on a specific theme and will facilitate discussions on challenges, innovations, and prospects in the use of data and evidence to inform sectoral analysis, as well as plan development and implementation.

The amount of data and evidence available to decision-makers, educational planners, and managers has grown exponentially over the past decade. Yet, in many countries, the use of evidence in formulating education policies and plans remains limited. To develop impactful and relevant policies, education stakeholders must not only collect data and evidence but translate and use it. 


Willtress Dolo from Liberia's Education Ministry participated in the IIEP Education Leadership Seminar 2024.
About Strategic Debates

Join our enriching debate series featuring researchers, policy-makers, and practitioners across the globe.

In each session, panelists and audience members will gather to share their experiences, insights, and successful and promising practices to help education actors use the data, evidence, and research, available to them to foster quality education systems for all.

Our debates will take place on 13 June, 11 July, 19 September, and 28 November 2024.

Simultaneous interpretation will be provided in English, French and Spanish.

Hybrid debates will take place at IIEP premises at 7-9 rue Eugène Delacroix, 75116 Paris.




Strategic Debates provisional agenda

Thursday, 11 July 2024: Online only from 2:30 pm to 4:00 pm Paris time

 Debate 2: Using evidence in a situational analysis to move policies forward

Once an issue is on the policy agenda, a situational analysis must be conducted to understand the conditions and context. For example, when a country pinpoints foundational literacy, a situational analysis would entail assessing the current state of literacy, literacy teaching methods, educational resources, and existing barriers by mapping, collecting, and analyzing evidence such as large-scale national assessment data, information about teacher training and qualifications, results of research studies and stakeholder perspectives – including those of teachers, youth, and marginalized populations. This Strategic Debate will delve into strategies for using evidence to comprehensively understand the issue at play.

Organized as part of the FA1 Learning Series 


  • Diane Coury, Programme Specialist, IIEP-UNESCO
  • Soumaya Maghnouj, Policy Analyst at the Directorate for Education and Skills, OECD
  • Alpha Bah, Head of EMIS and ICT units under the Planning Policy Analysis and Budgeting Directorate of the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, The Gambia

The debate will be opened and chaired by Martín Benavides, Director, IIEP-UNESCO, and closed by Gwang-Chol Chang, Chief of Education Policy Section, Division of Policies and Lifelong Learning Systems, UNESCO Education Sector.

Thursday, 19 September 2024: Hybrid mode

 Debate 3: Evidence in policy planning: How to use evidence to plan feasible policies for political adoption

Policy planning involves operationalizing designed policy solutions by outlining and costing specific steps. Having a robust policy plan is key to convincing political decision-makers to formally adopt the proposed policy. For instance, in the context of a policy proposal on foundational literacy, data, and evidence can be used to estimate costs, analyse risks, assess resource availability, identify potential logistical bottlenecks, and project timelines for literacy improvement. This debate will focus on how to use evidence to plan policies that are feasible and fit for adoption and implementation, with a focus on resource projections.

Organized as part of the FA1 Learning Series 

Thursday, 28 November 2024: Online only

 Debate 4: OpenEMIS and open school data to inform educational policy and planning

New technologies open unprecedented avenues to share data with more stakeholders at each level of the education system. OpenEMIS, for instance, promotes technological innovations and EMIS architectures to ensure that education data are available to stakeholders at all levels of government from central to school level. Similarly, open school data policies rely on the establishment of new digital portals to share detailed statistical information with the public. Nevertheless, in both cases, effective use of data both by public officials and the school community remains a challenge in most contexts. This debate will focus on promising strategies encouraging the uptake of open data, including by the public. 

Thursday, 13 June 2024: Online only from 2:30 pm to 4:00 pm Paris time

 Debate 1: Using EiE data and evidence to inform crisis sensitive educational planning

Governments, humanitarians, and development partners increasingly recognize the need to adopt evidence­informed risk reduction strategies. This requires timely and reliable data and evidence to quantify and analyse the extent to which crises (including those due to climate change) affect education systems. But critical lack of timely and quality data both on risks and during crises, or data that are inconsistent, hamper planning and efficient implementation of education service delivery. This Debate will discuss strategies to strengthen ministries of education capacities for the use of crisis-related data and information, including through using data from ministries of environment and natural resources, or ministries of disaster management. 

  • Diogo Amaro, Programme Specialist, IIEP-UNESCO
  • Frosse Dabit, Senior Education Program Specialist, UNRWA
  • Benjamin Kohoun, School and University Administration Adviser, Burkina Faso
  • Galo Mauricio López Lindao, National Director of Education Analysis and Information, Ministry of Education, Ecuador

Martín Benavides, Director, IIEP-UNESCO, chaired the Debate.


Organized by IIEP, the 2024 Strategic Debates take place within the framework of the Global Education Cooperation Mechanism for SDG 4, and the activities of the SDG 4-Education 2030 High-Level Steering Committee (HLSC).

Learn more about HLSC’s Evidence and Policy Technical Committee, which IIEP is technical co-lead with UNESCO/EDP and the OECD. 





Muriel Poisson

is the acting Team Leader for IIEP’s team on Knowledge Management and Mobilization (KMM). She is also the task manager of the Institute’s programme on Ethics and Corruption in Education.