Using and producing educational statistics
Statistics have many uses in relation to the budget. They inform budget decision- making, as well as illustrating the impact of the budget. They also show the potential impact on a budget if circumstances change – for example if out-of-school children enter school. They can be used to support a point of view, or to highlight a particular context. They are a useful advocacy and campaigning tool.
Producing statistics: At the local level, participatory visuals are very useful tools for developing statistics. However, before developing statistics it is important to consider:
What statistics are important and relevant to the case being made about education?
How can we collect this information? Do we need to talk to anyone else? Do we have the information here? Where else do we need to go to access the information?
How can we measure what we are collecting? What indicators can we use? What data will be reliable? How much should we disaggregate our data?
How will we present this information? Who are we presenting it to? What is the most useful form we can use to present it?What categories might we use?
Using statistics: Statistics produced locally can be used to show the reality of the situation and the need for further investment in education. They may also show the impact of the current education budget on the local community and to government inputs with parental inputs. They may be used to illustrate the advantage of a particular policy over any other policy. For example:
"If we invest in a girls’ sanitation block, we will get 50 more girls in school, but if we spend the money on sports materials we will not increase the number of girls in school".
It is also worth using statistical data from other sources; to see how they present the local reality, and to make comparisons with other communities. The implementing organisation can play a role here in helping people at the local level access statistical data. This information can be useful for lobbying and advocacy purposes as well as mobilising the local community. Pulling out the different levels of education investment and comparing this to data on educational achievement, or local demographic and poverty indicators, can be helpful in making the case for more local investment in education. Pictures or graphs can be used to illustrate the differences in budget allocations (for example, the government is spending X per child in this district, but in that district the expenditure is Y). It is also important to explore what the data may be hiding. For example, it might show that in one area the teacher student ratio is 1:30 but further investigation reveals that only 50 per cent of children are in school. Such analysis could be used to mobilise the community to demand their right to education, as well as for wider advocacy with the government. Statistics are also useful when tracking education budgets, and evaluating their impact.