Exploring key performance indicators of school education
India has been witnessing phenomenal expansion of the school education system since 1950. As the school education sector grew, both the Central and State Governments realized the importance of reliable and disaggregated data for decision-making for efficient management of the system. In the early 1990s, an Education Management Information System (EMIS), called the District Information System for Education (DISE), was created for planning and monitoring the implementation of the District Primary Education Programme (DPEP) in educationally backward districts in select states. Beginning with 42 districts in seven states for collection, computerization, analysis and utilization of school level data, DISE was later on extended to cover all districts of the country. Subsequently, DISE was expanded to cover the entire school education sector (K-12) in 2011 and was renamed as the Unified District Information System for Education (U-DISE) as it was the result of the merger of DISE covering grades K-8 and the Secondary Education Management Information System (EMIS) covering grades 9-12.
The main objective of the Education Management Information System (EMIS) in India has been to promote data driven decision making to manage access, efficiency, equity, and quality of school education by facilitating policy analysis and formulation, programme planning, budgeting, monitoring and evaluation of the performance of the school education system in general and development programmes in particular.
The U-DISE is an annual census of schools in the country with 30th September as the reference date. The U-DISE collects data on more than 4,000 variables covering key aspects of school education. Specifically, it collects data on school profile, Infrastructure facilities, teaching-learning material and equipment, incentives to students, enrolment, teachers, and examination results. It also collects data on important variables to assess the status of the implementation of the Right to Education (RTE) Act 2009. The U-DISE collects data every year from around 1.53 million recognised and un-recognised institutions in the country, covering around 260 million students and 8.9 million teachers.
Since its inception in 1995, the National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration (NIEPA) has been managing the EMIS (i.e. the U-DISE) at the national level with support from the MHRD, GoI and State/UT Governments. Right from the beginning, the UNICEF India Country Office has been providing financial and technical assistance to NIEPA for managing U-DISE at the national level.
Over the years, U-DISE has contributed significantly towards establishing a robust EMIS in the country by reducing data gaps in school education and reducing the time lag in reporting data to less than a year. It has acquired the status of the single largest school based EMIS in the country and has become the major source for reporting official statistics on school education. The U-DISE is serving as the major source of data for district planning, allocation of resources, monitoring and assessment of performance of the school education system and various central sector flagship education reform programmes like the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and Teacher Education Programme. Recently, the MHRD, GoI has moved towards adopting a sector-wide approach (SWAp) in designing and implementing its flagship programme called the Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan (Integrated Scheme on School Education), which has shifted its delivery approach from input accounting to management of results by making a comprehensive Result Framework (RF) as an integral part of the programme design. Most of the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) included in the RF are based on U-DISE data. Besides, most of the SGD 4 related indicators for India are being computed using the U-DISE data.
The human brain finds it easy to process information using charts, graphs or maps as compared to complex spreadsheets or texts or numbers to visualize large amounts of complex data. Data visualization is the presentation of data in simple pictorial or graphical form for facilitating processing and comprehension of information. It plays an important role in the use of data in decision-making. It enables decision makers to see analytics presented visually, so they can easily grasp difficult concepts, trends and identify new patterns.
NIEPA with technical support from the UNICEF has developed this Data Visualization App (DVA) to promote utilisation of U-DISE data for effective planning and management of school education in the country. The basic purpose is to visualize status and performance trends of the school education sector using key performance indicators. This is the first version of the Data Visualization App and NIPEA plans to further enhance its scope and usability of various indicators in the subsequent versions.
Data visualization have three Apps -- Dashboard, Mobile App and Profile. These are available at: www.schooleduinfo.in Mobile Apps can be downloaded from Google Play Store and App Store.
Needless to mention, the U-DISE as an EMIS has been driving significantly the demand for data and information in the school education sector not only for policy analysis, and programme planning and management but also for meeting information needs of researchers and education development practitioners across the globe. While as a comprehensive EMIS in the school education sector, the U-DISE has been successful in creating a rich database, the potential for its utilisation has not been fully exploited. In this context, it was felt to develop an online Data Visualisation App for promoting utilisation of U-DISE data at all levels starting from national to school levels through visualisation of KPIs and related indicators on key aspects of school education in the country. The App is expected to promote quick access of all stakeholders to information on school education for promoting evidence based decision-making and performance monitoring. Moreover, the visualisation App would also promote accountability at all levels leading to a ‘culture of engagement’ in the school education sector.
The U-DISE collects data on more than 4,000 variables, based on which a total of 97 Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) have been selected at elementary level and 78 at secondary level for inclusion in the DVA. Trends of KPIs disaggregated by gender, location, social category, management, wherever applicable, at various administrative levels such as national, state, district and block have been presented in the DVA. Trends of KPIs show changes over time either in positive or negative direction. It is very important to assess direction and magnitude of the KPIs over time to assess system performance. The KPIs are mostly related to access including school infrastructure and teacher deployment, participation, student flow including completion rates, and gender, social and spatial disparities in school education.
Disaggregating data is important to reveal patterns, which are generally masked by large aggregate data. In other words, disaggregating data simply means breaking down information into smaller sub-groups to get a better understanding of trends and patterns. Moreover, disaggregated data analysis is important to inform decisions related to implementation, monitoring, efficiency, effectiveness and equity of a development intervention. Disaggregated data can also be used to advocate specific policy changes, to provide evidence for targeted and differential programming, and to look for patterns over time and see if similarities or differences within and among sub-groups are emerging. The DVA facilitates disaggregated analysis presentation of huge data collected in U-DISE for informed decision-making for policy planning, programme management and advocacy.
The Data Visualization App has the following three parts:
The dashboard has been further divided into three parts – i.e. Elementary, Secondary and Demographic Dashboards. The Elementary and Secondary Dashboards are based on U-DISE data. Data and indicators in the Demographic Dashboard is based on Census, 2011 data, which are required to understand the characteristics of the administrative unit.
The Elementary and Secondary Dashboards have four thematic areas – i.e. school profile and facilities, teachers, enrolment and outcomes. The KPIs at elementary and secondary level dashboards have been estimated using the U-DISE database. The data and KPIs presented in the DVA cover the period starting from 2011-12 to 2016-17 for elementary level and 2012-13 to 2016-17 for secondary level.
The following table provides information on thematic indicators by sub-groups, stages of school education and school management, which have been covered in the DVA:
|Thematic Area||Number of Indicators||Availability of data by subgroups|
|Elementary||Secondary||Management||Location||Gender||Social Groups||Administrative area|
|Schools||40||37||Rural and Urban||-||-||National level to Block level|
|Teachers||16||11||Rural and Urban||Male and Female||SC, ST, OBC, General and Others||National level to Block level|
|Enrolment||25||20||Rural and Urban||Boys and Girls||SC, ST, OBC, General and Muslim||National level to Block level|
|Outcome||16||10||-||-||Boys and Girls||SC, ST, OBC, General and Muslim||National level to Block level|
Besides, 25 indicators have been provided in the Demographic and Socio-Economic Dashboard. These indicators are available by gender, social groups and spatial and administrative units stating from national to district level. These indicators are available based on latest Census, 2011 data, National Family Health Survey - 4 (NFHS-4) conducted in 2015-16 and Economic Survey, 2017-18.
The Elementary and Secondary Dashboards have the following graphics:
One of the unique feature of the DVA is that data of a given graphic can be viewed in a table format and can also be downloaded in other formats for presentation and further use.
There are two Mobile Apps for data visualisation, which provide information on elementary and secondary education separately. These apps can be downloaded from Google Play Store and IOS Play Store. The mobile application for elementary level provides information on 97 KPIs and the mobile application for secondary level on 78 KPIs with similar levels of disaggregation as provided in the Dashboards. After the selection of a given indicator and a sub-group, the user can visualize information in charts and heat maps as per his/her choice and easily share through email or social media to any other user. The user needs to download the indicators to the mobile phone once every year to use the same till the indicators are updated for the next year.
The profile is available for the most recent year data for elementary levels at the national level, for all states and districts. Information on 40 select indicators has been provided in the profile and graphics are provided for trend analysis of indicators by management, location, social groups and gender. The profile can be downloaded from Dashboard in pdf format.
What information is available and its Meta data?
The list of indicators with their disaggregation levels included in the Data Visualization App can be accessed here. Meta data for each indicator can also be accessed here.
What to consider while using data visualization?
The primary objective of the Data Visualization App (DVA) is to promote utilisation of data on school education, particularly that of the U-DISE for evidence based planning and management of school education in India. Besides, performance monitoring and assessment of school education system at national and sub-national levels, the DVA provides a platform for key stakeholders and the general public to access key information on school education for promoting advocacy and participation in the management of development interventions. Select key performance indicators mostly based on U-DISE data in the App provide information on the current status and performance trends, among others, in access, participation, student flow, international efficiency, quality and equity of school education up to the district level disaggregated by location, school management, gender, social category, etc. Besides U-DISE data, the DAV uses data from other secondary sources like the Census of India, NFHS, NAS, National Achievement Survey (NAS) and the Economic Survey in its Dashboard.
The App, it is expected, would be very useful for policy-makers, senior government officials, academia, researchers and other stakeholders for its ready to use and informative features. The Data Visualization App has been developed by the National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration (NIEPA) with technical support from the UNICEF India Country Office.
We are grateful to Mr. Anil Swarup, Secretary, Department of School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India for his guidance and valuable inputs during the first planning meeting of the Data Visualization App. We are also thankful to Ms. R. Savithri, Deputy Director General (Statistics), Department of School Education and Literacy, MHRD, Government of India for her support.
We would like to acknowledge the efforts of Dr. Ramachandrarao Begur, Education Specialist, UNICEF for his support and guidance although the development of the App.
We sincerely acknowledge and appreciate the hard work done by Dr. Ganesh Kumar Nigam, Consultant, Education Section, UNICEF India Country Office. He was responsible for coordinating, developing the database and estimating indicators from the U-DISE, developing the metadata.
We thank Prof. K. Biswal, In-charge, U-DISE Project, Department of EMIS, NIEPA for his efforts in developing the Data Visualization App.
We also acknowledge the support provided by Mr. Naveen Bhatia, former System Analyst (I/c), NIEPA, and the U-DISE Project Team at NIEPA, particularly Ms. Aparna Mookerjee, Ms. Shakun Sethi and Md. Jameel Ali in developing the database and extending technical support for development of the DVA.
We would also like to thank all State/UT and District MIS Coordinators for their valuable inputs during the review of the DVA.
We appreciate the technical assistance provided by the Avalon Information Systems Pvt. Ltd. in developing the Data Visualization App.
NIEPA and UNICEF are committed to revise and continuously improve the quality and usefulness of the Data Visualization App. We would appreciate comments and suggestions for further improvement in the App.
The purpose of the DVA is to identify development issues and concerns, facilitate strategic planning, effective implementation, monitoring and evaluation in the school education sector. Besides, it aims at informing the decision-makers, government officials, academia, researchers and other key stakeholders about the performance trends of the school education system using KPIs in a user-friendly manner. Needless to mention, the DVA would serve as an important tool for monitoring progress in the implementation of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009 and the progress towards the Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SGD 4).
The Data Visualization App will inform debate and discussions mainly around the following key question: