Although access to education has increased globally over the past decades, disparities remain and many children in school struggle to achieve basic literacy and numeracy skills. Recognizing this concern, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have called for a greater focus on inclusiveness, equity and quality in education. However, little comparative data, particularly in terms of education in the early years of a child’s life, currently exist that examine these areas, focusing instead on access.
To address this data gap, UNICEF developed the Foundational Learning module, a new data collection tool that captures basic literacy and numeracy skills at grades 2 and 3 (SDG 4.1.1.a), targeting children aged 7 to 14, in order to monitor learning and quality of education. The module was developed for use in household surveys and is well suited to standardized instruments such as MICS and Demographic and Health Surveys that already focus on the well-being of children. As the guidance below demonstrates, the Foundational Learning module could also be adapted to any household survey if the following overall requirements are met:
- The sample is representative and of sufficient size
- There is the ability to identify all members of a household, including age and sex
- National education authorities are involved in the key steps of the process