Use of learning data in the education planning cycle: modalities and obstacles


Although more learning data have become available in sub-Saharan Africa countries over the past two decades, this availability has not led to their effective use for educational planning. In addition, despite the increasing attention that this topic receives internationally, a deeper understanding of what is driving the use of learning data is still missing. The need to address this gap prompted IIEP-UNESCO to launch a qualitative multi-case study to examine how and why countries in sub-Saharan Africa use learning assessment data in the education planning cycle. It sought to raise awareness on the complex dynamics that underlie processes of learning data use and focus on aspects, which are addressed less in the available literature. Six countries participated in the study: the Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Namibia, Senegal, and Zambia.

This webinar is the first of a three-part series to present the findings of the study, following the release of the IIEP-UNESCO publications on the topic. It will focus on new evidence on the use of learning assessment data in each phase of the planning cycle, as well as the main obstacles and enabling factors for the use of these data. It will complement existing knowledge with new insights on issues related to the quality of assessment reports, dissemination of assessment results, and capacity development of actors that produce and use learning data.

You can find more information about the series and key study findings in the concept note.



Opening remarks: Suzanne Grant Lewis, Director UNESCO-IIEP

Trends and challenges in the use of learning assessment data in the planning cycle in sub-Saharan AfricaIeva Raudonyte and Tuamanaia Foimapafisi

IIEP will present trends that emerged from the study, which point to the sporadic and heterogeneous nature of the use of assessment data throughout the planning cycle. It will show that current dissemination channels often cannot ensure timely and effective sharing of results. Moreover, efforts are needed to make assessment reports a more effective tool for the dissemination of assessment findings and policy messages. Capacities to produce, disseminate and use assessment data also remain a key challenge.

Fernanda Luna (IIEP Office in Buenos Aires) will briefly introduce the adapted version of this study that is being conducted in Latin America.

Use of learning assessment data in the Namibian education systemCharmaine Villet and Hertha Pomuti

The first part of this presentation will focus on the use of learning data in the main phases of the education planning cycle in Namibia. The second part will address the main barriers in the use learning data observed in the country (e.g. absence of a comprehensive national assessment policy; lack of linkages between learning assessment data and other data sets as well as background contextual information on factors that may influence learning; untimely release of learning assessment data; insufficient resources (financial and human) to sustain learning assessments; lack of linkages among learning assessments in terms of their design, development and implementation.

Use of learning assessment data in Ghana: Might Kojo Abreh

This presentation will examine the use of learning data in the education planning cycle in Ghana and explore major challenges that were identified in the process. Issues related to the use of data at decentralized level will also be addressed. 

GPE’s support to learning assessment systems and barriers countries face: Ramya Vivekanandan

The Global Partnership for Education (GPE) has a core priority around improving learning outcomes, and this includes a focus on strengthening learning assessment systems such that quality data on children’s learning is produced regularly and used. This presentation will detail the ways in which GPE contributes to this effort. It will also reflect on the ways in which countries use learning data in education sector planning and the barriers that countries (particularly those in sub-Saharan Africa) face that may preclude them from using the data.

Q&A session with the audience.

The session will be moderated by Suzanne Grant Lewis.


Suzanne Grant Lewis was appointed Director at IIEP in 2014. She provides strategic vision and leadership for the Institute, develops strategic partnerships and mobilises resources, and provides oversight of the staff, financial resources, programme and administration of IIEP Paris, Dakar and Buenos Aires. She has over twenty-five years of experience in improving educational opportunities in the developing world, particularly in education policy and planning in Africa. She has experience in designing and managing applied educational research programmes across many contexts and has published works for a wide range of audiences on participation in school governance, democratic policy-making in education, funding trends in education internationally, among many others.

Ieva Raudonyte is an Associate Research Officer in the IIEP Research and Development team. She contributes to research activities related to the use of learning assessment data and the broader theme of teaching and learning. More specifically, she supports the coordination of IIEP’s research programme on the use of learning assessment data in the planning cycle and contributes to IIEP’s Learning Portal activities.

Tuamanaia Foimapafisi is an Education consultant. She has contributed to the implementation of the research programme on the use of learning assessment data at IIEP-UNESCO. Prior to this, she was a research assistant for a study of racial discrimination in New Caledonia.

Fernanda Luna is currently an acting Research and Development Coordinator for the IIEP-UNESCO Office for Latin America. She coordinates the Information System on Educational Trends in Latin America (SITEAL). Previously, in Argentina, she has worked in government technical teams, such as the General Coordination of the Study of Costs of the Education System of the Ministry of Education, the Directorate of Analysis of Public Expenditure and Social Programmes of the Ministry of Economy, and the Undersecretary of Inclusion and Equity of the Ministry of Education of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires. She was a consultant for various international organisations such as UNDP, UNICEF and IDB on issues of economics of education and education policies.

Charmaine Villet completed her Ph.D. studies in Curriculum and Instructional Leadership at Ohio University in the US. She is the Dean in the Faculty of Education at the University of Namibia. Dr Villet has participated and led prominent studies on educational reform and transformation with the World Bank, UNESCO, the EU and in Namibia and the SADC region. She served as the co-chair of the International Taskforce on Teachers for Education 2030/UNESCO from 2016 – 2018. Dr Villet is currently working on a book on Curriculum, Learning and Teaching in African Higher Education, which will be published in early 2022. She heads the sub-cluster on Curriculum, Teaching and Learning in Higher Education under the African Union.

Hertha Pomuti is a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Education in the University of Namibia (Curriculum Instruction and Assessment Studies). She obtained her Doctorate degree with specialization in Education Policy Studies in 2009 from the University of Pretoria. Dr Pomuti worked as a director of the National Institute for Educational Development (NIED), a directorate of the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture. While she was a director of NIED, she provided leadership and technical expertise in the areas of educational planning and development, curriculum design and development, project planning and implementation, strategic planning, educational research, policy formulation and implementation, monitoring and evaluation. Dr Pomuti also worked as a local supervisor and external examiner for Master Degree in Education at various universities. Her areas of expertise are teacher education, policy analysis, leadership and management, curriculum development, program development and material development. 

Might Kojo Abreh has over 15 years of expertise, knowledge, and experience in educational planning and research development, social development, project monitoring and evaluation, and project management in Ghana, as well as in other sub-Saharan African country contexts. He is an educational planner by training. Might has managed programmes and projects that have policy planning and implementation undertone. His research extends institutional and systems planning in education and a wealth of background in performance improvement planning and management. Kojo is adept at using both quantitative and qualitative research approaches; and well referred nationally in educational research and M&E in Ghana. Kojo has a number of published refereed articles; presented papers at national and international conferences attended; and supervised preparation of project reports and Technical papers. He serves as a reviewer for several reputable academic journals and grant reviewer some Foundations.

Ramya Vivekanandan is Senior Education Specialist and Thematic Lead for Teaching & Learning at the GPE Secretariat. In this role, Ramya coordinates GPE’s work in relation to learning, learning assessment and quality teachers and teaching – all priority areas for the Partnership. Before joining GPE, Ramya worked for more than five years as a Programme Specialist and Team Leader for Quality of Education at UNESCO's Asia-Pacific Regional Bureau for Education in Bangkok. In this capacity, Ramya established and managed the Network on Education Quality Monitoring in the Asia-Pacific (NEQMAP), a regional network on learning assessment encompassing more than 50 members from almost 30 countries of the Asia-Pacific region. She also worked for nearly six years at UNESCO HQ in Paris, mostly on issues of teacher policy and teacher education and briefly on HIV and education and school health. Prior to joining UNESCO, Ramya held a number of short- and medium-term assignments supporting girls' education and teacher education in Sub-Saharan Africa, including with the Ministry of Pre-University and Civic Education in Guinea, Save the Children US in Malawi and Creative Associates International in Senegal.


Foimapafisi, T.; Raudonyte, I. 2021. The Use of learning assessment data to improve educational planning: IIEP-UNESCO Online Learning Series concept note.

Foimapafisi, T.; Raudonyte, I. 2021. The Use of learning assessment data: Namibia. Information sheet. Paris: IIEP-UNESCO.

Galas Taboada, C.; Gutiérrez Cortés, M T.; Hamilton Vélez, E. M. 2020. Uso de resultados de las pruebas de aprendizaje en el diseño de las políticas educativas en América Latina. Buenos Aires: UNESCO. IIEP Buenos Aires. Oficina para América Latina. (More information about the study in Latin America in Spanish.)

Raudonyte, I. 2019. Use of learning assessment  in education policy-making. IIEP Working Papers, 34. Paris: IIEP-UNESCO.

Raudonyte, I. 2021. The Use of learning assessment data: Ghana. Information sheet. Paris: IIEP-UNESCO.

Raudonyte, I. 2021. The Use of learning assessment data: Ghana. Policy brief. Paris: IIEP-UNESCO.

Raudonyte, I. 2021. The Use of learning assessment data: Namibia. Policy brief. Paris: IIEP-UNESCO.

Additional resources are also available in the Slack discussion forum.