Policy expertise

Supporting the Out-of-School Children Initiative in East Asia and the Pacific

Policy Area
United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
Aug 2015 - Jul 2016
OPM contact

The Out-of-School Children Initiative is a global initiative led by UNICEF and the UNESCO Institute of Statistics, with the aim of documenting the numbers and profiles of out-of-school children in different countries around the world, identifying the reasons they are out-of-school, and helping to design policies that will ensure all children have access to pre-primary, primary, and lower secondary education. In East Asia and the Pacific, we are guiding country teams to complete Out-of-School Children studies, and particularly in their analysis of the barriers that keep children out-of-school and the policies that could address these barriers. This includes advising on using evidence from different sources, helping teams to conduct new studies, providing analysis of existing data and literature reviews, summarizing the international evidence on key policy issues, and quality assurance and review of report drafts. We are also writing a regional report which will synthesize evidence from across the different country studies.

Despite progress in some countries, many children remain out-of-school in the countries of East Asia and the Pacific. As part of a global initiative, UNICEF and the UNESCO Institute of Statistics work with countries to analyze how many children are out-of-school, who these children are, what the barriers are that prevent them from accessing school, and what policies can be used to overcome these.

However, countries often have difficulty using the evidence that is available and gathering new evidence, in order to inform policy. We support this process by analyzing data, reviewing evidence on barriers and policy, and guiding country teams in the use of systematic frameworks for assessing and using different sources of evidence. We are also writing a regional synthesis of the country studies.

Country teams including staff of ministries of education, academics, and local consultants, produce the out-of-school children studies with support from OPM and others. Our team works flexibly through a combination of in-country and remote support, both to help the country teams and contribute parts of the analysis. In addition, we will write the regional synthesis report.

Specific forms of support include:

  • Analyzing data on numbers of out-of-school children across the region
  • Guiding country teams on assessing the strength of evidence from different sources, identifying which barriers matter most, and evaluating current policies and future policy options
  • Reviewing existing studies from across the region on the reasons for children being out-of-school and how effective policies have been in addressing those reasons
  • Helping country teams to review the design and implementation of existing policy in each country
  • Advising on the international policy evidence and how it can be applied in each country
  • Leading workshops to identify critical barriers that keep children out-of-school, the policies that aim to address them, and policy changes that may be needed
  • Finalizing and quality-assuring country reports
  • Writing the regional synthesis report

The Out-of-School Children country studies will fill an important gap in evidence-based policy-making in the East Asia and Pacific region, highlighting both progress and the remaining children who have not been reached with existing policies. Our support across the region will help countries to learn from each other’s experiences and build capacity among local research teams. The project aims to work closely with ministries of education so that the final reports have greater credibility in policymakers’ eyes.

Principal Consultant
Portfolio Leader, Education
Senior Consultant
Assistant Consultant