Cross-posted from the GCE-US Action blog.

As a global initiative that advocates for people’s rights to quality education worldwide, The Right to Education Index (RTEI) brings a lot of things to the table. We bring our partnership with civil society and research institutions, we bring our expertise in international development. We also bring data.

RTEI aims to ensure that all people, no matter where they live, can enjoy their right to a quality education. And the way we strive to accomplish such a goal is the perfect example of how data can be used to influence global education.

The primary RTEI tool for data collection is the RTEI Questionnaire, a comprehensive survey of close-ended questions answered with supporting documentation. The RTEI Questionnaire is structured into Governance, Availability, Accessibility, Acceptability, and Adaptability (the 4 A's) themes, along with sub-themes based on the international human rights law framework. As for our primary respondents to the questionnaire, we partner with civil society organizations and national education coalitions; based on the data we collect, we then conduct research analysis to identify areas that governments can improve upon as they make progress towards the right to education. Meanwhile, RTEI civil society partners use the results to develop their own country briefs. Country briefs contextualize RTEI findings, provide deeper analysis, and offer remedies to areas in need of improvement. 


With all the data in our hands, how do we use it to make civil society partners’ campaigns more compelling, relevant to the current need, and useful to policymakers? How do we make our case more persuasive to the target audience? The answer boils down to how we can bridge the gap between research and advocacy. At RTEI, data is used to construct the Index, global reports, country briefs, web tools, and advocacy. RTEI's sustainable and lasting contribution to support the fulfillment of the right to education are the national-level advocacy campaigns it supports, developed with civil society partners every other year. After fifteen partners completed the RTEI Questionnaire in 2016, five were supported to develop and implement in-country advocacy campaigns based on their findings. The detailed outcomes and impacts of RTEI 2017 advocacy strategies can be found in our annual report here.

Last month, RTEI held its second bi-monthly webinar, titled “National and Global Channels of Influence”, for the members of our Community of Practice, which consists of right-to-education advocates who are strategically positioned to influence right to education related policies, programs, and progress. This workshop highlighted a few of those channels of influence, described how to engage them, outlined key milestones over the next 18 months, and sought to support coordinated action with RTEI partners. During the session, we exchanged information on education sector planning and joint sector reviews, World Bank upcoming investments in basic education, and universal periodic reviews and UN Treaty Bodies—most importantly, how to use those findings to advance RTEI partners’ policy agenda in each individual country.       

brown bag lunch

RTEI is also looking to connect grassroots advocates around the world. During last month’s 2018 RESULTS International Conference, RTEI hosted an event to share RTEI updates with RESULTS grassroots volunteers who attended the conference to grow their knowledge and to develop their advocacy skills. During this event, RTEI partners in Zimbabwe, Tanzania, and the UK shared their experiences on right to education-related advocacy campaigns. By connecting to those who are deeply committed in the issue, we believe we can drive public and political dialogues on the right to education, therefore garnering support for civil society campaigns across the world.

Fred Ji is the Communication Fellow at Right to Education Index (RTEI).  Currently a graduate student at Georgetown University, he is interested in how innovative communication strategies could effect a positive change in the non-profit sector.