Review of the International Standard Classification of Education

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					      Review of the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED)



                        Regional Expert Meeting for the Arab States

                                Doha, Qatar, 7-8 February 2010



                                        Summary Report1

                                           14 April 2010




1
 The views of the participants presented in this summary represent their opinions and suggestions as
experts on the ISCED review topics and not an institutional position.


ISCED review Arab States report                    1                                       14 April 2010
Table of contents

Executive summary ....................................................................................................... 3

Introduction ................................................................................................................... 5

Session 1: Opening ....................................................................................................... 5

Session 2: Introduction to the ISCED review ................................................................. 5

Session 3: Redefinition of post-secondary levels (ISCED 4-5-6) ................................... 6

Session 4: Redefinition of secondary levels (ISCED 2-3) .............................................. 7

Session 5: Redefinition of ISCED 0 and ECCE ............................................................. 9

Session 6: Basic education and ISCED ...................................................................... 10

Session 7: Technical and vocational education and training (TVET) ........................... 11

Session 8: Redefinition and classification of non-formal education (NFE) ................... 12

Session 9: Educational attainment in the ISCED review .............................................. 12

Session 10: Emerging regional issues ........................................................................ 13

Session 11: Meeting conclusions and closing ............................................................. 14

Annex 1: Meeting agenda ........................................................................................... 15

Annex 2: List of participants ........................................................................................ 17




ISCED review Arab States report                                      2                                                     14 April 2010
Executive summary

As part of the ongoing review of the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED),
the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) organized a regional expert meeting for the Arab
States in Doha, Qatar on 7-8 February 2010. The agenda of the meeting is in Annex 1. The
participants are listed in Annex 2.

The first session provided an introduction to the ISCED review, with a summary of the review
process, a description of the existing ISCED from 1997, and an overview of changes in the
education systems in the Arab States that made a revision of ISCED necessary. Participants
agreed on the importance of ISCED as an international framework and on the need for a review
due to wide-ranging changes in the education systems of countries in the region, and due to
problems with the current ISCED.

The meeting continued with a session on post-secondary levels of education (ISCED 4-5-6) and
a description of alternative scenarios for the new ISCED. Meeting participants preferred
scenarios that made it possible to distinguish between Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes but
there was some uncertainty about the allocation of certain programmes to specific blocks,
including the distinction between blocks 3a and 3b. The distinction between blocks 0 and 1 was
not considered important due to the lack of block 0 programmes in the region.

A session on secondary levels of education (ISCED 2-3) highlighted the differences between
general and vocational programmes. It was emphasized that there were no terminal general
programmes in the region. Participants agreed that adult education programmes should be
classified with programmes of equivalent content aimed at younger students. On the other hand,
there was no consensus on whether pre-vocational programmes should be merged with general
programmes. The issue of general 3A programmes of different duration was seen as irrelevant
for the Arab States.

During a session on ISCED 0 and early childhood care and education (ECCE), participants
noted the rapid expansion of such programmes in the region. Participants agreed that the
educational properties of programmes should be the main classification criterion in ISCED. It
was proposed that ISCED also classify relevant early childhood education programmes for
children below 3 years of age, perhaps even from birth. Teacher training was considered a
secondary criterion for the definition of ISCED 0.

In a session on basic education, there was agreement on removing the notion of basic
education as a label for ISCED levels. At the same time, the group agreed on the need for an
international definition of basic education.

A session on technical and vocational education and training (TVET) highlighted the orientation
dimension, the differences between general and vocational education, and the notion of TVET
at the tertiary level of education. There was no agreement that the concept of pre-vocational
education should be dropped from ISCED. There was no consensus on whether TVET should
extend to tertiary education. There was also no consensus on whether ISCED should be linked
to the International Standard Classification of Occupations (ISCO). The group expressed strong
support for considering fields of education for programme classification and on the need for
criteria for the classification of non-formal education.

In a session on non-formal education (NFE), participants emphasized the importance of such
programmes in the region, mainly to fill gaps in the formal education system, and supported an


ISCED review Arab States report                3                                   14 April 2010
expansion of ISCED to cover both formal and non-formal education. Participants agreed on a
need for a universal definition of NFE. The European Classification of Learning Activities was
not seen as useful for this purpose because it requires national qualification frameworks, which
do not exist in the Arab States.

A session on educational attainment focused on the proposed definition and its application. The
group agreed on the need for a minimum duration criterion in the definition of educational
attainment. Participants also mentioned the need for complementary data collection on skills,
such as surveys on literacy and other education outcomes. One important issue for the Arab
States was the large number of migrants and their effect on statistics on educational attainment
in the region.

The final session revisited new issues that had emerged during the discussions over the two
days of the meeting. Participants emphasized the importance of accurate translation of the
proposals into different languages, in particular Arabic. The group also proposed several
additions to the ISCED glossary, including terms related to non-formal education and TVET.
Lastly, participants called for a simultaneous release of an operational manual, with examples,
to ease the transition from ISCED 97 to the new ISCED.




ISCED review Arab States report                4                                   14 April 2010
Introduction

As part of the ongoing review of the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED),
the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) organized a regional expert meeting for the Arab
States in Doha, Qatar on 7-8 February 2010. The agenda of the meeting is in Annex 1.
Participants are listed in Annex 2.

The meeting was divided into the following sessions.

1. Opening
2. Introduction to the ISCED review
    Review of the concepts and structures of the ISCED 97
    Changes in the education systems in the region
3. Redefinition of postsecondary levels (ISCED 4-5-6)
4. Redefinition of secondary levels (ISCED 2-3)
5. Redefinition of ISCED 0 and ECCE
6. Basic education and ISCED
7. Technical and vocational education and training (TVET) in ISCED
8. Redefinition and classification of non-formal education (NFE)
9. Educational attainment in the ISCED review
10. Emerging regional issues
11. Meeting conclusions and closing

This report presents the key issues discussed in each session, describes topics in the ISCED
review that are particularly relevant for the Arab States, and summarizes the recommendations
of the assembled experts.


Session 1: Opening

The meeting was opened with speeches by Yousef Ismail, Cluster Advisor of the UIS; HE
Sheikh Hamad Bin Jabor Bin Jassim Al Thani, President of the Qatar Statistics Authority; and
Dr. Hamad Al Hammami, Director of the UNESCO Office in Doha.


Session 2: Introduction to the ISCED review

Session 2 introduced participations to the ongoing ISCED review. Presentations were given on
the following topics, followed by a brief discussion.

1. Friedrich Huebler (UIS) presented an overview of the ISCED review, with a summary of the
   reasons for the review and a description of the review process.
2. Nhung Truong (UIS) reviewed the concepts and structure of ISCED 97. The presentation
   covered different elements of ISCED, including the criteria for classifying educational
   programmes and a description of the different ISCED levels.
3. Yousef Ismail (UIS) described changes in the education systems in the region in the last 10
   years, including changes in tertiary education, basic education, vocational education and
   training, early childhood care and education, and non-formal education.




ISCED review Arab States report                5                                   14 April 2010
The meeting participants agreed on the importance of ISCED as an international framework and
on the need for a review due to wide-ranging changes in the education systems of countries in
the region, and due to problems with the current ISCED.


Session 3: Redefinition of post-secondary levels (ISCED 4-5-6)

Sheren Hamed, member of the ISCED review Technical Advisory Panel (TAP), gave a
presentation on post-secondary education (ISCED levels 4-5-6) and described the proposed
blocks: 0 (advanced vocational), 1 (short tertiary), 2 (medium first degree), 3a (long first degree
low), 3b (long first degree high), 4 (second/further qualification/degree), and 5 (advanced
research/doctoral). For the levels of education, four different scenarios were presented: 1
(minimalist), 2 (maximalist), 3 (medium), 4 (alternative medium). The discussion and group work
that followed the presentation can be summarized as follows. Details follow below for the two
groups that worked on this topic.

1. The distinction between blocks 0 and 1 was not considered important in the region because
   there are hardly any block 0 programmes.
2. The proposed block 2 was accepted because all Bachelor’s programmes in the region lead
   to Master’s programmes.
3. The distinction between blocks 3a and 3b was not clear. There was disagreement on
   whether first long degrees should be considered equivalent to first short degrees or second
   degrees.
4. Block 4 was accepted, but there was discussion on whether higher diploma degrees that do
   not necessarily lead to block 5 programmes should be added to block 4.
5. The distinction between blocks 4 and 5 was seen as necessary. However, it was unclear
   how medical programmes should be treated, perhaps as part of block 5.
6. Of the presented scenarios, 3 and 4 were preferred. Scenario 4 had the advantage of
   distinguishing between BA, MA and PhD programmes.

Session 3 group work: Redefinition of post-secondary levels – Group 1

Group rapporteur: Mr. Mohammad Bougroum (Morocco).
Country representatives: Mr. Saoud Alshammari (Qatar), Ms. Reem Bsaiso (Jordan), Mr.
Abdulrahman Mebabi (Libya), Mr. Essa Alharbi (Saudi Arabia).
UIS representatives: Mr. Yousef Ismail, Mr. Talal El Hourani.
TAP representative: Ms. Sheren Hamed.

The group felt that there was not enough time for the discussion and for the group work activities.
The discussion concerning the blocks drew the following recommendations:

1. Participants saw the necessity to define the concepts and terminologies that are used in
   describing the programmes. In particular, it was recommended to refer to duration in years
   instead of using the terms long, medium and short duration. Explaining the concepts
   (including first degree programmes, second degree programmes) was seen crucial.
2. The move from ISCED 97 to ISCED 2011 should be clarified with a schedule and a data
   migration matrix.
3. The operational manual should be developed simultaneously with the final version of ISCED
   2011.
4. The new trends of education systems should be taken into consideration while developing
   ISCED 2011, for example the trend towards L-M-D (Licence / Maîtrise / Doctorat) systems.


ISCED review Arab States report                 6                                     14 April 2010
5. The group preferred scenario 3 because it was seen as consistent with the general trend
   towards LMD systems and because it mirrors the current ISCED.

Session 3 group work: Redefinition of post-secondary levels – Group 2

Group rapporteur: Mr. Maher Sbieh (Palestine).
Country representatives: Mrs. Tahira Ali (Oman), Mr. Hegazi Edriss (UNESCO Lebanon), Mr.
Elmostafa Hddigui (Morocco), Mr. Ahmad Shadeed Hweitat (Jordan), Mr. Richard Miller
(UAE/USA).
UIS representatives: Mr. Friedrich Huebler, Ms. Nhung Truong.
TAP representative: Ms. Silke Schneider.

The group did not have enough time to discuss all recommendations. The group reviewed the
recommendations in the group work documents and made the following comments:

1. On the blocks, the group proposed to add the high diploma degree to block 4. The group
   also suggested defining duration in years instead of referring to long, medium and short
   duration. Finally, a need for an operational manual for the new ISCED was expressed.
2. The group preferred scenario 4 because it was considered more adequate for Arab States.
   The group recommended the addition of the higher diploma degree in block 4.
3. Concerning programmes that span blocks, the group agreed that programmes on culture
   and sports should be added to the academic stream.
4. On programmes that could be assigned to block 4 or 5, the group proposed that the higher
   diploma should be added to block 4, after the bachelor degree and before block 5. Higher
   diplomas are awarded in the Arab States in the fields of teacher training and development,
   demography, and planning statistics.
5. The group recommended that intermediate diplomas should be placed in the same blocks.


Session 4: Redefinition of secondary levels (ISCED 2-3)

Silke Schneider, member of the ISCED review Technical Advisory Panel (TAP), gave a
presentation that covered proposed changes to ISCED levels 2 and 3. The presenter discussed
programme orientation, destination and duration; presented the four blocks to classify
programmes; and explained how the blocks would be assigned to ISCED levels 2 and 3. The
discussion and group work that followed the presentation can be summarized as follows. Details
follow below for the two groups that worked on this topic.

1. There was disagreement on whether pre-vocational education should be merged with
   general education. Group 1 stated that there was no need to merge the general and pre-
   vocational categories. In Group 2, some members stated that the two categories could be
   merged, whereas others felt that it was necessary to keep pre-vocational as a separate
   category.
2. With regard to destination, group 1 agreed that destinations A and B could be merged.
   Group 2 agreed that the two destinations could be merged for ISCED 2, but not for ISCED
   3.
3. The regional experts explained that there were no terminal general programmes in the
   region and that general programmes always led to higher education.
4. Both groups agreed that there should be one dimension, combining orientation and
   destination, instead of two complementary dimensions.



ISCED review Arab States report               7                                   14 April 2010
5. Group 1 noted that Morocco was an example of a short (1 to 2 years) professional
   programme that targets some students who completed primary education. Group 2 did not
   find cases of short professional programmes, and did not find it necessary to differentiate
   these.
6. The participants agreed that second chance programmes should be classified with the
   equivalent content level programmes.
7. One participant raised two additional issues – substitution education for those who left
   school early, and Quran schools in the region – and asked how pupils enrolled in these
   institutions should be classified.

Session 4 group work: Redefinition of secondary levels – Group 1

Group rapporteur: Mr. Mohammad Bougroum (Morocco).
Country representatives: Mr. Saoud Alshammari (Qatar), Ms. Reem Bsaiso (Jordan), Mr.
Abdulrahman Mebabi (Libya), Mr. Essa Alharbi (Saudi Arabia).
UIS representative: Mr. Yousef Ismail.
TAP representative: Ms. Sheren Hamed.

Due to lack of time, the group discussed only the first three items in the group activity document.

1. The group members agreed that there was no need to merge the general and pre-vocational
   categories into one general category, arguing that this would enable ISCED 2011 to
   accommodate trends in general educational polices that encouraged the development of
   pre-vocational education.
2. The group members stated destinations A and B must be merged into one destination
   category in the interested of simplifying ISCED.
3. The group argued that duration should be reflected in the blocks. Morocco was cited as an
   example of a short (1 to 2 years) programme in level 2 that targeted some students who
   completed primary education.

Session 4 group work: Redefinition of secondary levels – Group 2

Group rapporteur: Mr. Elmostafa Hddigui (Morocco).
Country representatives: Mrs. Tahira Ali (Oman), Mr. Hegazi Edriss (UNESCO Lebanon), Mr.
Ahmad Shadeed Hweitat (Jordan), Mr. Richard Miller (UAE/USA), Mr. Maher Sbieh (Palestine).
UIS representatives: Mr. Talal El Hourani, Mr. Friedrich Huebler.
TAP representative: Ms. Silke Schneider.

Like group 1, group 2 noted that the time allocated to the group work was not sufficient to
discuss all items. The outcome of the discussions was as follows.

1. Group members did not agree on whether pre-vocational education should be merged with
   general education. On the one hand, it was argued that pre-vocational education was
   disappearing in many countries. On the other hand, it was argued that pre-vocational
   education should be kept as a separate category, especially at ISCED level 2, to facilitate
   the collection of comprehensive statistical data.
2. The group agreed that destinations A and B could be merged at ISCED level 2, but not at
   ISCED level 3.
3. The group stated that general education always provides access to further education.




ISCED review Arab States report                 8                                     14 April 2010
4. The group stated that it was unnecessary to distinguish between general 3A programmes of
   different duration (as they exist in some regions, for example the Caribbean) because the
   described scenario did not apply to the Arab States.


Session 5: Redefinition of ISCED 0 and ECCE

Nhung Truong (UIS) gave a presentation on ISCED level 0 and early childhood care and
education (ECCE). The presenter described the key features of ISCED 0 – formal education
from 3 years of age to the beginning of primary education – and how it relates to ECCE. The
presentation led to a discussion and group work with the following main conclusions. Details on
the group work can be found after the summary below.

1. Participants stated that ECCE was expanding rapidly in the region.
2. The group agreed that the educational properties of programmes should be the main
   classification criterion in ISCED.
3. It was proposed that ISCED 0 include all early childhood education programmes, not only
   programmes starting from 3 years of age.
4. It was also recommended that ISCED should take into account lifelong learning as a
   comprehensive concept for education.
5. Teacher training was considered a secondary criterion for the definition of ISCED 0.
6. The participants agreed on a need for a plan to collect data on ISCED 0 and ECCE from all
   possible providers.
7. ISCED was seen not only as a tool to build statistical capacity, but also as a tool to develop
   and improve education systems.
8. There was disagreement on whether the proposal on ISCED 0 should include a reference to
   non-formal education.

Session 5 group work: Redefinition of ISCED 0 and ECCE

Group rapporteur: Mrs. Tahira Ali (Oman).
Country representatives: Mr. Mohamed Bougroum (Morocco), Mr. Hegazi Edriss (UNESCO
Lebanon), Mr. Abdulrahman Ashtawi Mebabi (Libya).
UIS representative: Ms. Nhung Truong.
TAP representative: Ms. Sheren Hamed.

During the group work on ISCED 0 and ECCE, all items listed in the group activity documents
were discussed.

1. The group agreed with the proposed definition of ISCED 0 programmes and stated that their
   educational properties should be the main classification criterion in ISCED.
2. The group agreed that formal education can happen in different contexts, including school-,
   community- and family-based. However, it was remarked that comprehensive data collection
   on all ISCED 0 programmes could be difficult.
3. The group agreed that teacher training was a subsidiary criterion for the classification of
   ISCED 0 programmes. Other criteria should also be considered. The most important point
   was that children learn in a structured environment.
4. The group agreed that enrolment of children below 3 years of age should be considered in
   national statistics. One reason for this would be to help policy makers plan for future.
   Statistics departments should collaborate with other stakeholders and institutions to collect



ISCED review Arab States report                9                                    14 April 2010
     data for children below 3 years. One possibility would be to have ISCED levels 0a (for
     programmes for ages 0 to 2) and 0b (for ages 3 and older).
5.   The group agreed that the educational properties should be discussed with experts from
     different agencies, including UNESCO, UNICEF and others. However, the group stated that
     the ultimate goal was the development and strengthening of national education systems, not
     the collection of internationally comparable statistics.
6.   There was agreement on the need for a definition of other ECCE programmes in ISCED
     even if they are not considered part of ISCED 0.
7.   The group agreed that the designation of ISCED 0 as part of compulsory education in an
     increasing number of countries means that the current description of ISCED 1 as the
     “beginning of compulsory schooling” needs to be revised.
8.   The group agreed that data on all ECCE programmes should be collected, even if they are
     not compulsory.


Session 6: Basic education and ISCED

Talal El Hourani (UIS) gave a presentation on basic education in ISCED. The discussion
centred on the definition of basic education and on whether this concept should be retained in
the new ISCED. The discussion and group work had the following main results (details on the
group work follow below).

1. There was agreement to remove basic education as a concept in ISCED.
2. There was agreement on the need for an international definition of basic education.
3. A survey on definitions was considered useful but with some changes to the questions.

Session 6 group work: Basic education

Group rapporteur: Mr. Essa Al Harbi (Saudi Arabia)
Country representatives: Mr. Elmostafa Hddigui (Morocco), Mr. Maher Sbieh (Palestine).
UIS representative: Mr. Talal El Hourani.
TAP representative: None.

1. The group recommended deleting the notion of basic education as a label for ISCED levels.
2. The group agreed upon having an international definition of basic education so as to define
   and clarify the borders. The group also stated the belief that such action would be the
   starting point to generalize basic education in the future. It was noted that primary education
   is not the minimum needed to enter the labour market.
3. The group observed that the current ISCED assumes that basic education has 2 stages.
   However, in the region basic education sometimes occurs in 3 stages: In Libya, basic
   education is offered in 3 stages of 3 years each. In a case like Libya, the first two rather than
   just the first stage should be classified as ISCED 1, and the third stage as ISCED 2. The
   hierarchy of classification criteria should take this into account.

On the proposed questionnaire on basic education, the group commented as follows.

1. Question 1 (national definition of basic education): Accepted.
2. Question 2 (general goal of basic education): Accepted.
3. Question 3 (is basic education compulsory and free): Should be divided into two parts: 1)
   compulsory, 2) free.



ISCED review Arab States report                 10                                     14 April 2010
4. Question 4 (years of schooling covered by basic education): The group question the
   reference to years of schooling.
5. Question 5 (ISCED levels covered by basic education): The group proposed to replace
   “ISCED levels” by “educational programmes” or “educational stages”.
6. Question 6 (stages/cycles in basic education): The group proposed to replace this question
   by one about the classification of educational programmes (educational stages) in ISCED.
7. Question 6.1 (number of stages/cycles in basic education): Accepted.
8. Question 6.2 (definition of “stage” or “cycle”): Accepted.
9. Question 6.3 (stages/cycles offered in which institutions): The group did not consider this
   question important.


Session 7: Technical and vocational education and training (TVET)

Talal El Hourani (UIS) gave a presentation on technical and vocational education and training
(TVET) in ISCED. Among other issues, the presenter discussed the orientation dimension and
the differences between general and vocational education, and explored the notion of TVET at
the tertiary level of education. The presentation was followed by a discussion and group work,
with the following main results. For details of the group work see the section that follows.

1. The group disagreed on whether pre-vocational education should be dropped from the
   ISCED classification.
2. Participants argued that TVET should only be considered up to ISCED level 4.
3. The group agreed on the need for criteria for the classification of non-formal education and
   proposed separate data collection for formal and non-formal education.
4. There was no consensus on whether ISCED should be linked to ISCO, the International
   Standard Classification of Occupations.

Session 7 group work: Technical and vocational education and training (TVET)

Group rapporteur: Mr. Richard Miller (UAE/USA).
Country representatives: Mr. Sa’oud Alshammari (Qatar), Ms. Reem Bsaiso (Jordan), Mr.
Ahmad Shadeed Hweitat (Jordan).

UIS representatives: Mr. Friedrich Huebler, Mr. Yousef Ismail.
TAP representative: Ms. Silke Schneider.

The group activity document listed several recommendations that were discussed by the
participants.

1. Recommendation 1 (drop pre-vocational category): The group agreed in principle but there
   was disagreement in the context of ISCED levels 2 and 3.
2. Recommendation 2 (review definition of general education): The group agreed.
3. Recommendation 3 (TVET should be considered at all ISCED levels): There was substantial
   discussion on this issue. The group argued that TVET should only be considered up to
   ISCED level 4, but not for higher ISCED levels. Participants stated that TVET did not extend
   to tertiary education and suggested that current 5B programmes should be re-classified in
   the current ISCED level 4 due to their vocational nature. It was furthermore commented that
   equivalence between general and TVET programmes was difficult to establish. It was
   suggested to link different levels of TVET with ILO skill levels and definitions.



ISCED review Arab States report                11                                  14 April 2010
4. Recommendation 4 (ISCED 3 review should consider fields of education for programme
   classification): The group expressed strong support for this recommendation.
5. Recommendation 5 (classification of non-formal education): There was substantial
   discussion on this issue. The group agreed on the need for criteria for the classification of
   non-formal education, but there were concerns about the implementation regarding the
   differentiation between formal and non-formal education. It was suggested to ensure that
   statistics for formal and non-formal education remained available separately and to have an
   optional collection of data on non-formal education. It was suggested to refer to non-formal
   education and training, similar to the term technical and vocational education and training.
6. Recommendation 6 (link ISCED review with UNESCO TVET strategy): The group agreed
   with this recommendation.
7. Recommendation 7 (no links between ISCED and ISCO, the International Standard
   Classification of Occupations): There was substantial discussion on this issue but no
   consensus was reached. It was suggested to investigate the ILO skills levels to establish a
   connection with levels of TVET and ISCED.
8. Recommendation 8 (vocational education at ISCED level 5): The group agreed and
   proposed to investigate classifying fields of education and training into either academic or
   professional for this purpose.


Session 8: Redefinition and classification of non-formal education

Yousef Ismail (UIS) gave a presentation on non-formal education and described possible
frameworks for the classification of learning activities, including non-formal education. The
presentation was followed by a round-table discussion with the following results.

1. The participants saw non-formal education as increasingly important in the region and
   welcomed an extension of the scope of ISCED to cover both formal and non-formal
   education.
2. The group agreed that a separate definition of non-formal education was necessary and
   stated that such a definition must necessarily contain references to formal education.
3. There was agreement on the need for a universal, not country-specific definition of non-
   formal education.
4. Some participants stated that informal education should also be considered in ISCED.
5. The European Classification of Learning Activities was not seen as useful for countries in
   the region because it depends on the existence of national qualification frameworks, which
   no country in the region has.
6. Participants also pointed out differences between Europe and the Arab States concerning
   the role of non-formal education. In contrast to Europe, non-formal education in the Arab
   States is often used to fill gaps in the formal education system, for example in the form of
   second chance and adult literacy programmes.


Session 9: Educational attainment in the ISCED review

Friedrich Huebler (UIS) gave a presentation on educational attainment. The speaker presented
the proposed definition of educational attainment and gave examples of its application with the
help of ISCED mappings. A round-table discussion followed, during which the following issues
were addressed.




ISCED review Arab States report               12                                   14 April 2010
1. There was agreement on the need for a minimum duration criterion in the definition of
   educational attainment.
2. It was observed that attainment levels may not be comparable across countries.
3. Participants noted that the proposed definition of educational attainment made no reference
   to education outcomes, such as literacy, or other skills. The members of the group therefore
   saw a need for complementary data collection, for example literacy surveys.
4. Collaboration between users and producers of educational attainment data was
   recommended.
5. The usefulness of household and labour force surveys for data collection was emphasized.
6. Participants underlined the usefulness of data on orientation and fields of study.
7. Participants mentioned the large number of migrants in the region and the effect of their
   presence on statistics on educational attainment. It was noted that the educational
   attainment proposal did not cover the issue of classifying foreign education programmes and
   qualifications.


Session 10: Emerging regional issues

Silke Schneider, member of the ISCED review Technical Advisory Panel (TAP), summarized
regional issues that emerged during the discussions over the two days of the expert meeting.

1. Some issues related to language were discussed by the participants.
   • The Arabic documents were not always in line with the English source documents. It was
       concluded that documents had to be checked more closely after translation before the
       start of the global consultation, for example through back-translation into the original
       language.
   • It was suggested that the glossary should contain definitions of terms in all UN
       languages and that those translations should be discussed in the TAP, partly to support
       the work of the translators.
   • The translation of the concept of “block” was not clear. Possible terms in Arabic refer to
       group, sub-level or sub-group. However, this issue may be irrelevant if the final ISCED
       document does not use the notion of “blocks”.
2. Meeting participants proposed to add several terms to the glossary.
   • There was a need to distinguish between “education” and “learning”.
   • For TVET, there was a need to distinguish between “education” and “training”.
   • The relation between the terms “higher education” and “tertiary education” had to be
       made clear in national and international contexts.
   • Several terms related to non-formal education were missing from the glossary, including
       adult education, second-chance education, re-integration programmes, and literacy
       programmes.
   • Several terms related to TVET had to be clarified, including technical, technological,
       vocational, applied, and professional. It was also proposed to define terms related to
       TVET in accordance with ILO work in the area.
   • Terms related to duration had to be clarified further, including calendar year vs.
       academic year, semester, or summer courses.
3. In Libya, basic education is offered in 3 stages of 3 years each, whereas the current ISCED
   assumes that basic education consists of 2 stages (if any). For cases like Libya it was
   suggested to classify the first two rather than just the first stage as ISCED 1, and the third
   stage as ISCED 2.




ISCED review Arab States report                13                                   14 April 2010
4. Egypt has a 5-year programme after completion of ISCED 2 that spans ISCED 3B and 5B.
    Guidelines for correctly classification of such programmes are required.
5. It was suggested to add a reference to non-formal education to recommendation 2 in the
    proposal on ISCED 0/ECCE. The current text mentions “formal education” and
    “institutionalised” and it was not clear if non-formal education was covered.
6. Meeting participants noted one use of ISCED that had not been foreseen in 1997, namely
    that countries used ISCED for building their own statistical systems.
7. It was asked whether vocational training without any school-based component was covered
    by ISCED.
8. One of the suggestions was to refer to “ILO skill levels” to help classifying TVET and
    professional education.
9. Participants recommended the release of an operational manual at the same time as the
    revised ISCED to assist countries with the rapid implementation of the new classification.
    The manual should contain examples with actual data to illustrate the switch from ISCED 97
    to the new ISCED. A suggested time-line for the implementation of the new ISCED was also
    seen as useful.
10. One criticism of the current ISCED review was that it focused too much on higher levels of
    education. The experts from the Arab States noted that programmes at lower levels of
    education were equally important in the region. Re-integration programmes for drop-outs
    where mentioned as one example.
11. Lastly, there were calls for more capacity building efforts from UNESCO as some countries
    had limited capacity for work on statistical systems.


Session 11: Meeting conclusions and closing

Friedrich Huebler (UIS) summarized the main outcomes of the discussions over the previous
two days, and closed the meeting, thanking all participants and the organizers.




ISCED review Arab States report              14                                   14 April 2010
                                  Annex 1: Meeting agenda




                  ISCED Review Regional Expert Meeting, Arab States
                           7-8 February 2010, Doha, Qatar

                                           Agenda


                                          7 February

09:00 – 09:25         Opening

09:25 – 10:00         Meeting objectives and overview of the ISCED review
                      Introduction of participants

10:00 – 10:15         Coffee break

10:15 – 11:00         Review of the concepts and structure of the (ISCED 97)
                      [doc: ISCED 97 classification]

                      Changes in the education systems in the region in the last 10 years and
                      how this reflects on the structure of the ISCED

11:00 – 11:45         Redefinition of post-secondary levels (ISCED 4-5-6) – presentation of
                      proposal main points and discussion
                      [doc: RM_ISCED 4-5-6]

11:45 – 12:30         Group work for the discussion of the ISCED 4-5-6 recommendations

12:30 – 14:00         Lunch

14:00 – 14:45         Presentation of group work results for ISCED levels 4-5-6 (15 minutes per
                      group)

14:45 – 15:15         Redefinition of the ISCED levels 2-3
                      [doc: RM_ISCED 2-3]

15:15 – 15:30         Coffee break


ISCED review Arab States report               15                                   14 April 2010
15:30 – 16:00         Group work for the discussion of the recommendations for the redefinition
                      of ISCED levels 2-3

16:00 – 16:30         Presentation of group work results (10 minutes per group)

16:30 – 17:30         Redefinition of ISCED 0 and ECCE and group discussion
                      [doc: RM_ISCED 0 and ECCE]

20:00 –               Dinner hosted by UIS


                                          8 February

09:00 – 09:45         Reviewing Basic education and TVET
                      [doc: RM_ISCED_Basic Education]
                      [doc: RM_ TVET in ISCED]

09:45 – 10:15         Group work on ISCED 0-ECCE, Basic Education and TVET

10:15 – 10:45         Presentation of results of group work

10:45 – 11:00         Coffee break

11:00 – 12:00         The redefinition and classification of non-formal education (NFE)
                      programmes – round table discussion
                      [doc: RM_ISCED_NFE_definition]

12:00 – 12:45         Educational attainment recommendations for the ISCED review – round
                      table discussion
                      [doc:RM_ISCED_Educ_Attainment]

12:45 – 14:15         Lunch

14:15 – 16:00         Identifying emerging regional issues and proposing solutions

16:00 – 16:15         Coffee break

16:15 – 17:15         Meeting conclusions

17:15 – 17:30         Closing




ISCED review Arab States report               16                                     14 April 2010
                                    Annex 2: List of Participants

       PARTICIPANT                                      POSITION                              COUNTRY
 Mr Meziane Ladjal                Sous-directeur                                             Algérie
                                  Direction des Études prospectives et planification
                                  Ministère de l'Éducation nationale
 Ms Reem N. Bsaiso                CEO, Educational Policy, Strategy, Mobilization of         Jordan
                                  Resources
                                  World Links Arab Region and Global Operations
 Mr. Ahmad Hweitat                Managing Director                                          Jordan
                                  Vocational Education and Training
                                  Ministry of Education
 Ms Ibtissam El Jouni (absent)    Social Scientist                                           Lebanon
                                  Social Statistics Department
                                  Central Administration of Statistics
 Mr Abdulrahman Mohmed            Director of Information Technology                         Libyan Arab
 Ashtawi Mebabi                   Information and Documentation Centre                       Jamahiryah
                                  Ministry of Education
 Mr Mohamed Bougroum              Professor                                                  Maroc
                                  Economics Department
                                  Cadi Ayyad University, Faculté de Droit de Marrakech
 Mr Elmostafa Hddigui             Chef de cabinet du Ministre                                Maroc
                                  Education et enseignement supérieur
                                  Ministère de l'Éducation nationale, de l'enseignement
                                  supérieur, de la formation des cadres et de la recherche
                                  scientifique
 Ms Tahira Ali                    Deputy Director                                            Oman
                                  Department of Statistics & Indicators
                                  Ministry of Education
 Mr Maher Sbieh                   Director                                                   Palestinian
                                  Department of Education and Culture Statistics             Autonomous
                                  Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics                   Territories
 Mr Saoud Alshammari              Head, Social Statistics Section                            Qatar
                                  Population & Social Statistics Department
                                  Qatar Statistical Authority
 Mrs Houda Bouslama               Senior Consultant on Policy Analysis and Research          Qatar
 (absent)                         Policy Analysis and Research Office
                                  Supreme Education Council
 Mr Essa Alharbi                  Planning and Policy Supervisor                             Saudi Arabia
                                  General Department of Planning and Policy
                                  Ministry of Education
 Mr Mohamed Jemni (absent)        Professor, Head of Research Laboratory                     Tunisia
                                  Computer Science Education and E-learning
                                  technology, University of Tunis
 Mr Richard Miller                Consultant                                                 United Arab
                                  Office of Higher Education Policy and Planning             Emirates
                                  Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research
 Mr Hegazi Edris                  Programme Specialist, Basic Education                      Lebanon
                                  UNESCO Office Beirut



ISCED review Arab States report                    17                                         14 April 2010
     ISCED TECHNICAL                                   POSITION                        COUNTRY /
  ADVISORY PANEL (TAP)                                                                Organization
 Ms Sheren Hamed                  Researcher                                          Jordan
                                  Monitoring and Evaluation Unit (Technical Unit)
                                  National Centre for Human Resources Development
 Ms Silke Schneider               Post-doctoral Prize Research Fellow                 United
                                  Nuffield College                                    Kingdom
                                  University of Oxford

          UIS STAFF                                              POSITION
 Mr Friedrich Huebler             Programme Specialist, Methodology
                                  Education Indicators and Data Analysis Section
                                  UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Montreal, Canada
 Mr Talal El Hourani              Assistant Programme Specialist, Arab States Region
                                  Education Indicators and Data Analysis Section
                                  UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Montreal, Canada
 Mr Yousef Ismail                 Cluster Statistical Advisor, Gulf States
                                  UNESCO Office Doha, Qatar
 Ms Nhung Truong                  Assistant Programme Specialist, ISCED Team, Methodology Unit
                                  Education Indicators and Data Analysis Section
                                  UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Montreal, Canada




ISCED review Arab States report                   18                                   14 April 2010