ISCED mappings are the outputs of an collaborative process between the UIS and Member States to map national education systems according to the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED).
These mappings are essential tools for organizing information on national education systems, their programmes and related qualifications in order to ensure the cross-national comparability of education statistics and indicators and to assist analysts to understand and interpret them.
ISCED mappings ensure a transparent process of coding national education programmes and related qualifications into comparable categories for use in international statistics by linking the classification criteria to the properties of the education programmes and their related qualifications.
The mappings provide clear guideposts on how to report national education data for international purposes. For example, in some education systems basic education lasts for eight years as opposed to a clear delineation between primary and lower secondary levels in terms of duration and content. ISCED provides the framework to help statisticians classify diverse systems in such a way that they can be compared across countries.
How are the mappings produced?
In 2007, the UIS launched a special survey to gather detailed information on national education systems worldwide. The survey includes a range of questions for each education programme on issues such as entry requirements, entry age, duration and diplomas obtained, as well as their corresponding ISCED level for pre-primary to tertiary education. In addition, countries are consulted individually, when necessary, to resolve potential classification problems which might compromise the comparability of their education data.
Based on this information, the UIS produces individual ISCED mappings for each country in consultation with national statisticians. In particular, we are working closely with sub-Saharan African countries to improve their ISCED mappings as part of efforts to improve data quality in the region.
Who uses the mappings?
First and foremost, the mappings help Member States to report their data in an internationally comparable framework. In turn, the UIS uses the mappings to ensure the international comparability of its education statistics. In addition, data users can look at the mappings for more specific information on a country’s education system.
Finally, the mappings also facilitate the work of other international and regional statistical organizations as they undertake comparative data collections, including household surveys and population censuses.
Below are the validated mappings based on ISCED 1997 and ISCED 2011.
ISCED 2011 mappings of missing countries are currently being finalised. They will be posted on this page as they are validated by the UIS and relevant national authorities.