The workshop included group activities, discussions, presentations and data analyses. At the start of the meeting, participants identified the major issues facing the education sector in their country. Those issues were put together in the form of 158 research questions, many of which can be answered using MICS6 and other data sources available, namely the School Census.
Some of the main areas of interest in education policy highlighted by participants’ questions include: access, efficiency, learning, social disparity, inclusion, early childhood development, school safety and school management. The research questions constructed around those issues will be transformed into chapters of the MICS-EAGLE country report for Sierra Leone. In contrast, the research questions proposed in the workshop that cannot be answered with available data will serve as examples to underline current data gaps, including violence, female genital mutilation (FGM) and teachers' performance, skills and motivation.
The workshop was opened by the Minister of the Basic and Senior Secondary Education (MBSSE) and joined by the Statistics Sierra Leone (Stats SL) Head of Research and UNICEF Country Office (CO) Chief of Education. It also included the participation of MBSSE’s Director of Planning, the Deputy Director in charge of EMIS, data experts, as well as statisticians from both Stats SL and MBSSE. In total, the workshop was attended by 72 participants, including government actors, civil society and development partners.
The MICS-EAGLE objectives were strongly supported by the participants as MBSSE, Stats SL, UNICEF and other partners who jointly recognized the significance of adapting the use of MICS6 data to the national context. Moreover, this high level of engagement will help to ensure that the main recommendations presented and the data gaps highlighted will provide opportunities to reach out to key decision makers. In fact, the discussions held during the workshop will also contribute to the CO’s upcoming Strategic Moment of Reflection (SMR) as well as to evidence-based planning and implementation of education policies.
UNICEF HQ Data and Analytics Section drafted the outline for the country report that will be reviewed by MBSSE, CO and the participants. Finally, a National Policy Workshop will be organized in early 2019 to present more detailed policy actions proposed by the report.