Strengthening education systems and innovation

Getting all children in school and learning takes strong, innovative education systems.

Young children in blue uniforms stand outside a preschool made of plastic bricks in Côte d’Ivoire, waving their arms.

Education systems are complex. Getting all children in school and learning requires alignment across families, educators and decision makers. It requires shared goals, and national policies that put learning at the centre. It also requires data collection and regular monitoring to help policymakers identify what’s working, who’s benefiting, and who’s being left behind.

Strong education systems are inclusive and gender-equitable. They support early learning and multi-lingual education, and foster innovations to extend education opportunities to the hardest-to-reach children and adolescents.

Innovation in education

Innovation in education is about more than new technology. It’s about solving a real problem in a fresh, simple way to promote equity and improve learning.

Innovation in education comes in many forms. Programmes, services, processes, products and partnerships can all enhance education outcomes in innovative ways – like customized games on solar-powered tablets that deliver math lessons to children in remote areas of Sudan. Or digital learning platforms that teach refugees and other marginalized children the language of instruction in Greece, Lebanon and Mauritania.

Innovation in education means solving a real problem in a new, simple way to promote equitable learning.

Innovation in education matches the scale of the solution to the scale of the challenge. It draws on the creativity and experience of communities – like a programme in Ghana that empowers local mothers and grandmothers to facilitate early childhood education – to ensure decisions are made by those most affected by their outcomes.

Many innovators are already at work in classrooms and communities. UNICEF collaborates with partners to identify, incubate and scale promising innovations that help fulfil every child’s right to learn.

Five girls stand outside in a refugee camp, looking at cell phones and tablets.
Adolescent girls use cell phones and tablets in the Za’atari camp for Syrian refugees in Jordan, where solar kiosks act as e-learning centres for children and adolescents in the camp.

UNICEF’s work to strengthen education systems

UNICEF works with communities, schools and Governments to build strong, innovative education systems that enhance learning for all children.

We support data collection and analysis to help Governments assess progress across a range of outcomes and strengthen national Education Management Information Systems. We also develop comprehensive guidelines for education sector analysis that are used in countries around the world to drive equity-focused plans and policies.

Our efforts promote transparency, shedding light on education systems so that students, parents and communities gain the information they need to engage decision makers at all levels and hold them to account.


Education Sector Analysis Guidelines: Volume 1 (English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Russian)

These guidelines support ministries of education and their partners in undergoing sector analysis and developing education sector plans.

Education Sector Analysis Guidelines: Volume 2 (English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Russian)

These guidelines support ministries of education and their partners in undergoing sector analysis and developing education sector plans.

The Investment Case for Education and Equity

This report analyses the learning crisis and its determinants and makes the case for an increase in funding for education and for more equitable and efficient spending.

Education Data Solutions Roundtable

Explore the Global Partnership for Education’s roundtable to leverage partners’ expertise and improve the availability and use of accurate, timely education data.

Journeys to Scale

This report, produced by UNICEF and the Center for Education Innovations, tells the story of five innovations as they attempt to scale and improve learning outcomes.

Humanitarian Education Accelerator

Learn more about this UNICEF partnership that provides capacity-building and mentorship support to promising education innovations in humanitarian settings, and conducts rigorous research on their effectiveness and ability to scale.

Collecting Data on Foundational Learning Skills and Parental Involvement in Education

This methodological paper measures foundational learning skills and parental involvement in education through household surveys.