Methodology of national education accounts
IIPE. Instituto Internacional de Planificación de la Educación
UNESCO. Instituto de Estadística
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Data on education expenditure are often incomplete due to the complex nature of fi nance in the sector and the different ways in which institutions report financial information. Consequently, many countries lack a sustainable education financing data collection, dissemination, and analysis system. To draw a complete picture of education financing in a given country, national statisticians must gather data from various sources. The data are not always compatible in terms of definition and coverage, and are rarely compiled and presented in terms relevant to education policy-makers (for example, by levels of education or by nature of spending). In many cases, such as for household or non-governmental organization (NGO) spending, the data are not compiled, and when they are, they may be collected only occasionally and in aggregate amounts. Significant manipulation, relying heavily on estimation methods, is required before they can be used for analysis. Because of difficulties in tracking in-country donor resources to education, and disentangling these from government sources, the total amount of funding available is often not fully known. These gaps are critical and are far too common. The production of good-quality data on financial flows is important in helping governments to understand how funds are disbursed, which groups are disadvantaged in terms of access to funding, where the potential leakages are, and what can be done to improve cost efficiency and effectiveness. Currently, it is not possible to calculate accurate unit costs for education in most countries. The lack of detail on the use of the funds also prevents effective policy planning aimed at improving learning outcomes. The absence of national data results in gaps in international data availability and prevents the effective monitoring of progress towards the Education 2030 framework and Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number 4, as well as the development of realistic costing exercises, at both national and international levels. The national education accounts (NEA) methodology presented in the document elaborates on the principles of existing international standards such as the System of National Accounts (SNA, 2008) and the International Standard Classifi cation of Education (ISCED, 2011), and builds on previous experience in the area.