March 15, 2016

Turning data into action for children that don’t go to school

Written by Mark Waltham, UNICEF

Four young boys leaning on a wall

The Out-of-School Children Initiative and its acronym OOSCI have become remarkably well known in education circles over the past few years. Walk into any ministry of education, donor agency or education NGO, and you will find somebody who has heard about OOSCI.

The goal: more children in school

The best description of OOSCI is that it is a process for making decisions that will improve equity and inclusion and get more children into school. The idea is simplicity itself. If we can get really good data on exactly which children aren’t in school, then we can find out what is keeping them away and also decide the best approach to overcome these problems.

The first step in the OOSCI process is to get the right data. Since Education Management Information Systems only contain information on the girls and boys who are in school, they tell us little or nothing about the children who aren’t.

For this reason, OOSCI normally takes its data from household surveys like Demographic and Health Surveys, Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys or national censuses, all of which collect information on every child in the households covered.

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