The UIS works closely with Member States on an individual basis to map their national education systems according to the International Standard Classification of Education (referred to as ISCED).
What is the purpose of ISCED mappings?
The mappings provide clear guideposts on how to report national education data for international purposes. For example, the national education systems in some countries are based on eight years of basic education 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 comparative framework. In turn, the Institute uses the mappings to ensure the international comparability of its education statistics. In addition, data users can look to 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.
The mappings below are based on ISCED 1997.