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EDU:Education Data Use

Leveraging DHIS2 as a Platform for Education


Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) calls for the use of data to guide improvement in learning outcomes and equitable access to education. In countries where the learning crisis is the highest, routine use of education data to inform decision making and allocation of scarce education sector resources is often limited. DHIS2 is an open-source, web-based management information system governed by HISP at the Department of Informatics at UiO and used for routine data capture, processing, visualization, dissemination, and analysis. The objective of the research project is to understand how best to leverage DHIS2 to enhance education data use at all levels of the education system. 


The project aims to develop information systems that can make indicator-driven decision-making accessible to schools, districts, and the national level to inform policy planning and design of education sector interventions. This will be achieved by leveraging in-country capacity already cultivated through years of information system strengthening activities in the health sector. The project centers on activities in The Gambia, Uganda, and Togo and addresses the following key problem areas:

  • the need for systematic education data collection based on international standards
  • the need to improve data utilization at multiple levels, and
  • the need to scale sustainable EMIS data use innovations across country borders

HISP UiO leads a consortium of implementation research partners. The project partners include HISP West and Central Africa, HISP Uganda, the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, and Save the Children Uganda. In collaboration, we address the two research questions.

  • What are effective approaches to enhance decentralized education information use based on international data standards?
  • How can best practices in information utilization be disseminated and scaled across countries in order to become an educational global good?

The project partners will engage education data stakeholders to identify ways to visualize and disseminate school and district education data. The project will also experiment with the development of custom School, Parent and Teacher Association, and Neighbourhood / Village Committee data visualization tools that can meet idiosyncratic information needs. These local innovations will be made available to the wider DHIS2 community through the DHIS2 App HubDHIS2 Academies, and the DHIS2 Community of Practice


Research Approach

Overall, the project follows an action research methodology, which entails a dialectic relationship between practical findings and theoretically informed analysis. Theory feeds into implementation and data use innovation in order to learn and improve, while practical experience informs further specification of theoretical insights. The EDU research project follows a long tradition of action research with HISP UiO and trains both Ph.D. candidates and Master Students from the Gambia, Uganda, Togo, and Norway. 

The action research cycle. Susman and Evered (1978) An assessment of the scientific merits of action research. Administrative Science Quarterly, 23(4), 582–603.




This work has received support from Norad under grant agreement QZA-18/0062. 

The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of Norad.

This work has received support from the Global Partnership for Education Knowledge and Innovation Exchange, a joint endeavor with the International Development Research Centre, Canada. The funding mechanism is administered by IDRC under grant agreement No. 109371-001. 

The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of IDRC or its Board of Governors.

Published June 6, 2020 10:21 PM - Last modified Feb. 4, 2021 2:42 PM