School of Data: Using Education Data

January 14, 2014 in communication, featured

school of dataSchool of Data is an Open Knowledge Foundation Project that works to empower civil society organizations, journalists and citizens with the skills they need to use data effectively in their efforts to create more equitable and effective societies. The School of Data mission is to teach people how to gain powerful insights and create compelling stories using data.

The Open Education Working Group hope to work more with School of Data in 2014. In the meantime I wanted to highlight some of the stellar work they are doing in the area of education data.


In December last year Michael Bauer travelled to Tanzania to work with and train ministry workers. He spent a week helping them understand what is needed to easily join the data they collect and what is possible if they do so.

Three institutions collect education data in Tanzania. The Ministry of Education collects general statistics on such things as school enrollment, infrastructure, and teachers in schools; the Examination Council (NECTA) collects data on the outcomes of primary and secondary school standardized tests; and finally, the National Bureau of Statistics collects the location of various landmarks including markets, religious sites, and schools while preparing censuses. Until now, these different sets of data have been living in departmental silos. NECTA publishes the test results on a per-school level, the ministry only publishes spreadsheets full of barely usable pivot tables, and the census geodata has not been released at all. For the first time, we brought these data sources together in a two-day workshop to make their data inter-operable.

From the School of Data website: Map of school enrolment

From the School of Data website: Map of school enrolment

The full blog post explaining how they arrived at a map of enrolment is available online: A deep dive into fuzzy matching in Tanzania.


Also in December the School of data team facilitated a data journalism boot camp where they led a spreadsheets training day and a data expedition exploring education in Moldova.

The group explored whether schools in Moldova encourage either integration or segregation and discovered that the schools with most ethnic minorities are found in cities, especially Chisinau, Vulcanesti or Balti.

Moldova Schools

From the School of Data website: Moldova Schools

The full blog post detailing the training on data analysis and visualisation culminating in the data expedition is available online: Data Journalism BootCamp in Moldova.


Last year School of Data launched Escuela de Datos (School of Data in Spanish). Escuela de Datos is first and foremost a mechanism to bring the School of Data methodologies and materials to people in their native languages.

Watch the School of Data space for more local language and open education data work in the future!

One response to “School of Data: Using Education Data”

  1. […] School of Data, through their data expeditions, are starting to do some important work in the area of education […]

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