With UNESCO in Beirut, Yemen’s Ministry of Education gets ready to collect national education data
Straight from Yemen, 15 members of the Yemeni Ministry of Education’s strategic and technical teams in charge of education-related data landed in Beirut this month, at the request of the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Education in the Arab States. In mind, one single national mission: to acquire the necessary skills to take charge of the Education Management Information System (EMIS), currently being developed by UNESCO for the Yemen. At the heart of this training, a new tailor-made application for Yemen set up by the UN agency. The application complements UNESCO’s support to Yemen for the consolidation of EMIS, a system for collecting, integrating, processing, maintaining and disseminating data and information to support education system policies in Yemen at all levels.
On UNESCO premises, a team of engineers and coders immerse themselves in the “backend” of the application, to learn its language and technical features. “The goal is to use this platform that we have developed, so that learners can retrieve and store data relating to schools, students and teachers, from questionnaires of papers distributed in schools in Yemen, and within the framework of a centralized system, explains Quentin, the trainer. This can range from the name of the schools, to their location, their infrastructure, the number of buildings, students and staff. “This system is based on the needs of ministry officials,” he adds. It is therefore important that they familiarize themselves with these tools, which they can develop on their own afterwards. We have also made sure that the application takes into account the particularities of the country, by creating a system that works partially offline, to compensate for internet cuts. »
Harnessed to understand some technical features of the application, Nisrine, engineer and former teacher, confides: “It is a national rescue mission, because the EMIS data system can create a much-needed difference in our education system, which is suffering enormously. The number of school buildings is currently insufficient. Many of them are damaged. Our teachers receive derisory salaries”. “This is the cornerstone that we are laying today, notes Nazir for his part, even if the database is not yet complete”.
A qualitative change
In an adjoining room, another team of learners is interested in ways to analyze the data collected by the application, to draw useful conclusions, under the direction of Philibert. The trainer is aware of the large amount of information that he must transmit to them in just a few days. However, he promises a follow-up in the future and the distribution of manuals to consolidate the achievements and knowledge obtained during this training.
“I am especially satisfied to master new tools and software, which will be beneficial to me on a personal level and which I will be able to use on other projects as well, notes Hoda. But this project is particularly successful because it responds to a national demand. When a country like Yemen is in a state of educational emergency with two out of five children out of school, having credible information becomes a pressing need. Otherwise, how do we assess our situation, our challenges and our needs, without valid data? »
The completion of this training does not mark the end of the EMIS project with UNESCO, funded by the Global Partnership for Education and carried out in cooperation with UNICEF and WFP. “We are sure that this project will mark a qualitative change within our ministry,” says Ahmad, Director of the Cabinet of the Minister of Education. The great interaction that we noted during this very practical training is simply the expression of an excellent partnership between the ministry and UNESCO, and which we hope to continue in the future. »