Representatives from Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan gathered in Torino at the European Training Foundation (ETF) for the third and final meeting of the working group on ‘Data collection methodologies and evidence based policy making’.
The working group was set up to support policy learning and development in the area of evidence based policy making and monitoring in the field of Vocational and Educational Training (VET) and Higher Education (HE). More concretely, the group’s aims have been to:
The initiative has been developed and implemented by CAEP and ETF, building on ETF’s experience with the Torino Process project.
The first meeting, in Istanbul in February, introduced the concept of evidence-based policy making and the evidence cycle, using specific country case studies as examples. National groups mapped out the evidence system in their country, looking at the institutions involved in evidence creation and their role in the evidence cycle, and participants agreed on specific topics and areas of cooperation for the rest of the programme.
The second meeting, held in Bishkek in April, explored monitoring approaches and systems for education systems within the EU and CA, again using country case studies and lessons learned. Tools for generating evidence and data and data collection strategies were then explored in more detail by the national groups.
Finally, at the third meeting in Torino, participants debated the feasibility of different strategies for evidence use and communication – with a particular focus on data analysis and visualisation, and further concrete country projects. “In Kazakhstan we understood that in order to convince our audiences we need to use straightforward, compressed presentations. We need to stick to one phrase, use as little text as possible, and increase the visual production. But one thing is clear: the level and quality of data visualisation is directly connected to the level of the analytics, and this is why we need highly qualified experts” said Alima Ibrasheva, expert from the Information-Analytical Centre under the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
During the three days of exchange, one thing emerged as key: using facts to pressure for change is a lot easier through effective data visualisation. “Collecting objective data is key to building sound policies in education, based on scientific proof”, added Evgeniya Boiko, Head of the Department for Monitoring, Strategic Development and Development and Information Assurance under the Ministry of Education and Science of the Kyrgyz Republic, “This is why in the Kyrgyz Republic we have developed a system that enables us to automatically collect data about education quality at all levels. This allows each parent who want his kids to go to school to click on a map, and clearly see which professional training is being offered.”
Data visualisation can be used to inform citizens, but it can be also addressed to decision-makers to help them grasp difficult concepts or identify new patterns, and make informed choices. Such a pattern is not new to the EU, where “science and innovation matters, to make sure that Commission proposals and activities are based on sound scientific evidence”, as European Commission’s President Jean-Claude Juncker said.
The experience from this successful cycle of meetings will feed into the planned working group to address the challenge of “Employability – transition from education to work” in the approved extension of the CAEP project. Two meetings ae planned for 2018, one in May and one in October, with the foreseen participation of up to four experts from each Central Asia country, along with representatives from EU members states and ETF. Further details of these two meetings will be available shortly.