The world's education systems vary widely in terms of structure and curricular content. Consequently, it can be difficult for national policymakers to compare their own education systems with those of other countries or to benchmark progress towards national and international goals.
What is the role of the UIS?
UNESCO developed the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) to facilitate comparisons of education statistics and indicators across countries on the basis of uniform and internationally agreed definitions. In 2011, a revision to ISCED was formally adopted by UNESCO Member States. The product of extensive international and regional consultations among education and statistical experts, ISCED 2011 takes into account significant changes in education systems worldwide since the last ISCED revision in 1997.
The first data collection based on the new classification will begin in 2014. The UIS is working closely with Member States and partner organizations (such as OECD and Eurostat) to map education systems to the new classification and revise collection instruments.
Data for ISCED 1997 are still available on our page devoted to ISCED 1997 mappings
ISCED Fields of Education and Training
During the ISCED 2011 review, UNESCO Member States agreed that the fields of education should be examined in a separate process. A review took place in 2012 with the view to establishing an independent but related classification called the ISCED Fields of Education and Training. A panel of experts led by the UIS has developed a draft classification (available in English, French and Spanish). A global consultation on the draft took place in early 2013. A revised proposal is being presented to the 37th session of the UNESCO General Conference in November 2013 for adoption.