Commissioner comments

I work in a very fast-paced environment where decisions must be made based on the best available evidence, ideally presented in formats appropriate to busy executives. So the parts of the Evidence Commission report that are most important for me are the ones that could help our authorities develop the types of ultra-rapid evidence-support system that we need in Abu Dhabi. Some examples include section 2.4 (examples of approaches to prioritizing challenges to address, especially the final column about COVID-END’s approaches), section 4.7 (living evidence products, especially living evidence syntheses that we can keep returning to), section 5.3 (strategies used by evidence intermediaries, especially rapid-evidence services), and section 6.2 (equitably distributed capacities, especially how our own internal processes can better intersect with the norms and guidance, technical assistance and global public goods). If we can create ‘wins’ that meet our current needs better, then I’m hopeful we can introduce the need to be working on multiple time horizons. No doubt we can better anticipate challenges in advance and help to build a local evidence base while we also look at what has been learned in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, in our region and globally.

It’s critical that we capitalize on this once-in-a-generation opportunity to improve the evidence-support system for educational decision-makers, including government policymakers, school-board officials, school principals, teachers and parents. I wholeheartedly embrace the idea in section 6.2 about this evidence-support system needing to be grounded in an understanding of local context (including time constraints), demand-driven, and focused on contextualizing the evidence for a given decision in an equity-sensitive way. Through the Evidence Commission, I’ve learned a lot about how we can complement our local educational evidence from Nigeria, including the citizen-led assessments we implement, with other forms of evidence specific to Nigeria, as well as with the best evidence regionally and globally. I see the UK’s Education Endowment Foundation evidence resources and the US Department of Education’s What Works Clearinghouse, and can immediately see the value in similar services being initiated in Nigeria and other low- and middle-income countries. Repositories like the ESSA African Education Research Database need to be strengthened and supported to become even more useful. We need to work at this.