Policy Reviews

An independent evidence-based assessment, on different policy domains which includes policy recommendations as well as specific project plans to be developed. In addition and upon request of the national authorities, the policy  review includes consultations to discuss these plans and coordinate efforts with  international agencies. The overall objective of the policy review is to help education authorities to strengthen their education system and contribute to the development of its capacities.

Typically, a policy review focuses on selected themes or sub sectors, according to the particular needs of the Member State. In the past, some themes reviewed were:

  1. overall assessment of the education system, focusing particularly on quality and equity, and the  ways in which contextual policies, regulations, structures and specific education policies and practices  might be  reformed  to  improve  education  in  the  country.
  2. teaching policies and capacity building of teachers and school principals through an analysis of  the assets and the shortcomings  of past and current education  and assessment  of the opportunities  for effective  change  or  reform  in  the  present  circumstances  (teacher  empowerment,  academic  status promotion, professionalization,  school leadership, social participation, multicultural education,  student outcomes);
  3. curricular development: language proficiency, global citizenship, tolerance, and civic education;
  4. policies  for  evaluation  and  the  assessment  of  achievement  by  PISA,  O-Net,  and  other  relevant indicators; and
  5. mobile learning: utilization of ICT in education and training for teachers.

Timeline: the process is expected to finish in 28 weeks, i.e. 7 months


Timing in (weeks) from date of signature of Agreement

First scooping mission


Guidelines for the country background report released


Benchmarking fact sheet completed


Literature review completed


Country background report by national team


Second (fact-finding and interpretation) mission


First draft of the final report


Third (validation) mission


Final report released


The case of Malaysia

The Malaysia Education Policy Review by UNESCO marked an important turning point for education in Malaysia, mainly because the evaluation in itself was the Ministry of Education Malaysia’s first effort to conduct an objective and comprehensive assessment of their education policy. In addition to this, the findings of the evaluation and the recommendations for improvement made by the UNESCO research team have provided invaluable input in developing the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013 – 2025.


This joint policy review is based on the principles of shared responsibility and cooperative work between the OECD and UNESCO. In order to facilitate the work for the Thailand policy review, both organizations have agreed that the OECD will lead the  team  in  the  areas  of  teaching  policies  and  assessment,  with  contributions from  UNESCO,  and  that UNESCO will lead the team in the areas of curriculum and technology in education, with contributions from the OECD.

The case of Thailand

With the great success of the Malaysia Policy Review, Thailand decided to undertake the same steps as a joint collaboration between OECD and UNESCO. 

The deliverables will be:

  • An assessment, drawing on empirical sources, of the progress made by the country in relation to both quality and equity in education, with particular emphasis on issues related to access, performance and efficiency.
  • A set of policy recommendations, drawing on international experiences and best practices.
  • A roadmap for implementation.

More info?

The UNESCO- OECD team will  be  composed  of  internal  experts  from  the  OECD  and  UNESCO,  together  with  two external experts, who will bring additional perspectives to the review as necessary. A priority in this regard is to identify experts from educational systems that are facing or have overcome policy challenges similar to those in the country being reviewed.  The  OECD  and  UNESCO  shall  retain  ultimate  control  over  the  review and the resulting output. 

For more information please contact: UNESCO Section for Teacher Development and Education Policies. Chief of Section: Mr. Francesc Pedro.  E-mail: f.pedro(at)unesco.org Tel: +331 45 68 10 17


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