UNESCO’s IIEP Learning Portal, an online platform designed to help decision-makers worldwide improve education and learning outcomes, is now live. The portal offers a searchable database of more than 1,000 free resources on learning issues.
Catherine Honeyman, visiting scholar at the Duke Center for International Development (DCID), is the research and content development manager for the site. In this role, she collaborates with researchers worldwide to develop peer-reviewed policy briefs on key learning and educational planning issues.
“The goal is to create a community that will promote exchange around how to improve learning outcomes,” Honeyman said. “We want this portal to become the place where education planners go to access research, share their experiences and get new ideas.”
IIEP is also hosting a global e-forum, Towards a Global Framework for Measuring Learning, Nov. 16-27. Experts from Europe, Latin America, North America, Africa and East Asia will lead discussions on current learning assessments and whether they meet the needs of education systems worldwide. Participation in the e-forum is open to everyone free of charge.
The learning portal is an outgrowth of the United Nations’ adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in late September. Ensuring inclusive and quality education is among the 17 new goals.
Although the SDGs’ predecessors, the Millennium Development Goals, placed high emphasis on access to education, UNESCO reported last year that at least 250 million of the world’s 650 million primary school age children are not learning the basics in reading and mathematics. Of these, 130 million are attending school regularly.
“There’s a global learning crisis in terms of quality, rather than access,” Honeyman said. “Increasing quality requires much more in-depth knowledge of what issues need to be addressed and how to address them.”
Honeyman is director of Ishya consulting, a Rwanda-based consulting firm that specializes in education and training, youth livelihoods, and project planning, monitoring and evaluation. The firm has worked with organizations such as Save the Children and Rwanda’s Ministry of Education and Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion.
Honeyman’s experience in Rwanda, she said, gave her a unique perspective on how to achieve education outcomes despite resource constraints.
“It provided a basis for understanding what the needs are for education planners worldwide, in terms of overcoming obstacles and meeting their aspirations,” she said.
UNESCO, the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization, is dedicated to building networks among nations by promoting intercultural understanding, pursuing scientific cooperation, protecting freedom of expression and mobilizing for education. The mission of IIEP (International Institute for Education Planning) is to strengthen the capacities of UNESCO member states to plan and manage their education systems.